Friday, April 12, 2024

Ukraine Accountability Conference – Justice can only be achieved by working together

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Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Karim A.A. Khan QC upon conclusion of the Ukraine Accountability Conference.

“The Ukraine Accountability Conference today marked an important moment in our collective efforts to deliver justice for alleged international crimes.

Through positive engagement across national authorities, international and regional organisations and civil society actors, we have charted a renewed course for common action in relation to atrocity crimes that prioritises dialogue across initiatives, promotes coherence and above all places the rights and experiences of victims at its centre.” Prosecutor Khan said.

“This is reflected in the agreement amongst participants to work towards the establishment of a Dialogue Group with the objective of promoting visibility and engagement across the various accountability initiatives relevant to the situation in Ukraine, as well as the identification of opportunities for enhanced coherence of action in these efforts.

The Conference does not mark the beginning nor the end of a process but an important further step on a path toward the collaborative vision we have already begun to develop. 

In recent months we have seen the ability of institutions, national authorities and civil society partners to work together in new ways towards our common goal of justice.  This was shown in many of the initiatives highlighted by participants today, including the joint development by my Office and Eurojust Genocide Network of Guidelines on Documentation Efforts by Civil Society Actors as well as the establishment of a Joint Investigation Team, which my Office recently joined as a participant along with Ukraine and other relevant States.

To play our role in further accelerating cooperation, I will seek to make my Office an even more effective partner for States with respect to their domestic accountability efforts.  In that context, I welcomed the acknowledgement by participants in the Conference today of the role my Office can play in providing cooperation and assistance to national authorities in accordance with Part 9 of the Rome Statute, and their stated appreciation of my expressed intention to expand such assistance to national authorities.”

We must now convert this moment into tangible progress.  This will start in the coming weeks with the formal launch of the Guidelines for Civil Society Organisations and our work together in the establishment of the Dialogue Group.

In addressing the Conference today, I had two key messages which I believe should guide this future work together:

(i) We must maintain our stamina in relation to the situation in Ukraine and we must ensure that the spirit of cooperation we see here today continues to guide our action.

Too much has already been promised to survivors and victims for us to lose focus.  I hope this Conference assists in ensuring our continued vigilance and reinforces our commitment to work together towards accountability.

(ii)While our starting point today is Ukraine, this Conference also served as a platform for a global perspective.

The innovative approaches to cooperation we have seen in recent months, and the deepening of collaboration we have further catalysed at this Conference, should set the standard for our action globally.

In all situations across the world where international crimes are committed we should feel the same urgency for action and for cooperation.  I believe that the work we do today can set a model for action that can be used to accelerate accountability efforts in all situations addressed by my Office.

I wish to express my sincere thanks to His Excellency Mr Wopke Hoekstra, Foreign Minister of the Netherlands, and His Excellency Mr Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice, for their partnership in co-hosting this Conference.

I stand ready to support the further work of all actors in follow-up to the roadmap we have begun to set today. 

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