E. Dobrovolska: we must take every measure to ensure the triumph of justice


2022 05 13


The delegation headed by the Minister of Justice Evelina Dobrovolska in The Hague was taking part in meetings with representatives of international institutions of justice to discuss cooperation and rendering coordinated assistance to Ukraine which is suffering from a military aggression.   

During the meeting with Karim Khan, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the delegation discussed the Court's investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine as well as possibilities for cooperation. A closer cooperation between States, greater contribution of their financial and human resources, and coordinated efforts both in collection and assessment of evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity as part of criminal justice efforts is needed in order to ensure an efficient functioning of the Court.

In the words of the Minister of Justice Evelina Dobrovolska, the Ministry of Justice has taken a leadership role in consolidating the support of States in important legal proceedings. This is currently one of Lithuania's top priorities.  

„History books will write about our efforts. We must preserve faith in justice for future generations. We must therefore take every effort to ensure the triumph of justice. In the face of the brutal military aggression by Russia and Belarus against an independent Ukraine, we must use every possible algorithm to ensure that war criminals are brought to justice as soon as possible," says Ms Dobrovolska. “Solidarity between all parties, involvement of the NGO sector and engaging Eurojust as a coordinator of Member States' actions constitute an important part of our efforts. Moreover, it is crucial to ensure the criminalisation of the crime of aggression; therefore, we invite politicians and scholars to discuss this topic at an international conference in Vilnius on 6 May”. 

At a meeting with Phillipe Gautier, Chief of Staff of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the delegation had a discussion on the challenges of implementing the Court judgments as well as procedural rules on intervention into individual cases.  

In the words of Ms Dobrovolska, following the decision of the International Court of Justice on the application of interim measures to put an end to Russia's aggression in Ukraine, it is important to continuously raise the issue of Russia's responsibility for non-compliance with the decision at the UN.    

During the visit to The Hague, meetings were also held with Ladislav Hamran, President of Eurojust, Franc Weerwind, Minister of Legal Protection of the Netherlands, representatives of Europol and Lithuanians working for Europol. 

Actions initiated by the Ministry of Justice

On 15 March, Minister Evelina Dobrovolska sent an official letter to the Commissioner for Justice of the European Commission and to the Ministers of Justice of the EU Member States urging them to open discussions at EU level on the establishment of a special tribunal to ensure the international criminal accountability of the planners and perpetrators of the aggression against Ukraine.  

The EU Justice and Home Affairs Council on 4 March agreed that Member States strongly condemn the unprovoked military invasion against Ukraine by the aggressors and will work to consolidate efforts to bring them to justice.  

On 1 March, the Ministry of Justice requested the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Lithuania to open a pre-trial investigation into the crime of aggression committed by the regimes of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus against Ukraine.  

On 28 February, at the initiative of the Ministry of Justice, Lithuania was the first country to make use of the possibility under the Rome Statute by requesting the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Russia and Belarus. Recognising the challenges and workload faced by this court, Lithuania has also allocated an additional sum of EUR 100,000 to contribute to the work of this court. 

In the near future, on the initiative of the Ministry of Justice, a temporary expert will be sent to the International Criminal Court; in addition, the Ministry will seek further opportunities to contribute to the investigation into Russia’s war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine by sending human resources.