Restoring Justice for Ukraine Conference: closing remarks by Minister Bruins Slot

Closing remarks by Minister of Foreign Affairs Hanke Bruins Slot, at the Restoring Justice for Ukraine Conference in The Hague, on 2 April 2024.

Read also: Minister Bruins Slot’s opening speech and Ministerial Dialogue Group speech at the Restoring Justice for Ukraine Conference.

Esteemed guests,

Let me start with a quote.

‘Time in Ukraine is not measured in days, weeks or months. It is measured in human lives... In Ukraine a week is a mother, a father, child, friend, lover, lost forever.’

This sad, but incisive observation by NATO Admiral Rob Bauer is a clear reminder that there is no time to lose where our support for Ukraine is concerned. Not when it comes to stopping Russia’s aggression today. Not when it comes to seeking justice for Ukraine today and tomorrow.

Justice for the mother, father, child, friend and lover, lost forever. And I’m grateful that everyone here is so keenly aware of this. I’m grateful that we’ve been able to make great strides today. Above all, I commend the people of Ukraine for this achievement. We’re only aware of what’s happening because they make us see. And we’re only speeding ahead because they are leading the way.

In the midst of an ongoing conflict, they --- and you --- have started the arduous process of prosecuting war crimes. That is a further testament to your resilience and commitment. The strides we’ve made today are reflected in the final political declaration.

Before its adoption, let me highlight its main points: We agree that Russia must cease its war of aggression immediately. And that all international crimes must be investigated and prosecuted. First by Ukraine. But also by the International Criminal Court. And we, the international community, must support their endeavours. We also agree on the importance of investigating and prosecuting the crime of aggression. Neither Ukraine nor the ICC can handle this alone. And therefore we support the International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine, as well as the establishment of a special tribunal for this crime.

In addition, we all support the Register of Damage, and with it the first registered claims submitted today. The Register is the first step towards a fully-fledged compensation mechanism, which will have the power to deny or grant registered claims. The Netherlands is willing to host this compensation mechanism under certain conditions. The conference provided political guidance on the discussion of the next step in this process: a claims commission.

Lastly, we welcome the progress made in the Dialogue Group, a forum that brings together national authorities, international organisations, civil society groups, and above all, the Ukrainian people.


Esteemed guests,

By building on our shared values, and by using our different perspectives as a means to move forward, we’re showing that the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts. Ultimately, we all speak different dialects of the same language. The language of justice. I look forward to continuing our dialogue in that clear and powerful tongue. And to backing up our words with tangible actions, so we can ensure justice for Ukraine.

Thank you.