G. Grigaitė-Daugirdė: we must make the aggressor pays provision a reality

During a discussion at the Forum of Justice Leaders in Riga on what European leaders could do in order to not only stop the military aggression in Ukraine but also to rebuild the country, Vice-Minister of Justice Gabija Grigaitė-Daugirdė stressed the importance of finding legal mechanisms. 

In the words of Ms Grigaitė-Daugirdė, the military aggression in Ukraine that has been going on for more than four months calls for urgent decisions and united initiatives by the international community in order to ensure that those responsible for war crimes are held criminally responsible.

"Only joint efforts and continued support for Ukraine can help bring peace, justice and security back to Europe. International law solutions exist and can be effective if states, politicians and decision-makers follow them. We cannot tire of questioning whether the concept of war crimes in the 21st century corresponds to the realities of the present time, and of exploring the possibilities of confiscating the assets frozen by the European Union's restrictive measures, as well as using them for Ukraine's reconstruction," the Vice-Minister of Justice said at the event. 

According to G. Grigaitė-Daugirdė, now it is necessary not only to discuss but also to initiate the search for the legal mechanisms which ensure that the assets of the Central Bank of Russia frozen with the help of the European Union sanctions as well as the assets of Russian and Belarusian persons and entities frozen by the European Union could be used for the reconstruction and rebuilding of Ukraine and that the principle "aggressor pays" became a reality. 

During the event, the Vice-Minister also stressed that currently the support of the EU Member States for the establishment of a Special International Tribunal to investigate the crime of aggression against Ukraine is of particular importance, as in this case other international judicial institutions such as the International Criminal Court do not have the jurisdiction to investigate the crime of aggression perpetrated against Ukraine.  

Following the outbreak of war in Ukraine, Lithuania and other countries appealed to the International Criminal Court requesting to open an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine. A decision to investigate the situation in Ukraine was announced in a record short time - within a day of the appeal. A Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has also been set up to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity with Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania as members. Latvia, Estonia and Slovakia as well as the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court have also joined the group. 

The Forum discussed other contemporary challenges in the field of justice: the importance of strengthening the efficiency of legal institutions, mitigating the risks posed by potential cyber-attacks and migration process, enhancing the capacity of justice policy makers and practitioners, and responding to the challenges of digitalisation and development of innovation.

The Forum of Justice Leaders is a platform for discussion on today's challenges, the search for legal mechanisms, and the development of initiatives by legal leaders, policy makers and experts