Mrs. President,

Distinguished colleagues,

Romania welcomes the initiative of Albania and France, in cooperation with Ukraine, to hold a meeting in the Arria formula on the topic of “Ensuring accountability for atrocities committed in Ukraine”.

Romania took every opportunity to strongly condemn the brutal, unjustified and unprovoked illegal military aggression directed by Moscow against Ukraine.

The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. The conflict has caused the world’s fastest growing displacement crisis since the Second World War. More than 828.000 Ukrainian refugees have crossed the Romanian-Ukrainian border. On the ground, the traces of indisputable aggression against civilians speak louder than any words. I have just returned from Ukraine today, where I have visited, together with the Romanian Prime Minister and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, the cities of Irpin and Borodianka. I am personally still very much affected by what I saw on the ground.

We are horrified by the reported war crimes, crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine and we call once more on the Russian Federation to stop its unlawful and unacceptable behavior towards the civilian population. 

No perpetrator of the atrocities in Ukraine shall remain unpunished. It gives us real hope to see an unprecedented, unified response on behalf of the international community, in support of holding accountable all those involved in blatant violations of international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights.

Romania has, therefore, joined other States Parties to the Rome Statute in a referral to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate any acts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide that have occurred on the territory of Ukraine. In addition, the Romanian Government has recently approved a voluntary financial contribution of 100.000 Euro, in response to the ICC Prosecutor’s appeal to States Parties. We stand ready to support further the efforts of the Office with adequate resources, against the background of increased workload, including the new investigation on the territory of Ukraine.

Romania places its full trust in the independent and impartial ability of the ICC to bring justice in Ukraine and all the other situations under its consideration. We will continue to support its vital role in the fight against impunity and in providing assistance and reparations to victims of mass atrocities.

Romania also welcomed the Order of the International Court of Justice, of March 16, calling on the Russian Federation to immediately suspend military operations in the territory of Ukraine. We urge full and unequivocal compliance with this Order. Furthermore, Romania will continue to promote its Declaration calling for a broader recognition of the ICJ’s jurisdiction and we encourage all states to join us in our demarche. 

We will not stop here. Romania supports targeted efforts to investigate human rights and international humanitarian law violations, such as the establishment of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine and the invocation of the Moscow Mechanism of the OSCE. In addition, Romania became member of the Group of Friends of Accountability, following the aggression against Ukraine.

The international community must continue to stand firm against Russia’s unacceptable aggression and to stand united in protecting those who are already suffering or facing imminent threats. We must continue to condemn and publicly expose the attacks against civilians and civilian facilities in Ukraine. In addition, it is our duty to address Russian war propaganda and disinformation more effectively, to never turn a blind eye on attempts to relativize the truth of sufferance.

We should continue to appropriately respond to Ukraine’s needs and to the specific requests of all international bodies and mechanisms that we have set up with the aim of contributing to more accountability as regards the situation in Ukraine. Our commitment has to be consistent and longstanding. Fatigue is not acceptable in the pursuit of justice. 

We should also ensure that the existing mechanisms and platforms for accountability do not overlap and do not create gaps in investigation. The activity of the Group of Friends on Accountability following the aggression against Ukraine could be particularly useful to this effect. 

Finally, we have to help the victims with compassion and dignity.

Romania has been at the forefront of this effort, as one of the countries receiving very large numbers of Ukrainians fleeing the terror, since the beginning of the war. Romania is committed to continue helping the population in need, be it on the territory of Ukraine or as beneficiaries of international protection on our territory.

Thank you for your attention.

Sursa: Intervention by H.E. Mr. Bogdan Aurescu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania – UN Security Council Arria meeting on ensuring accountability for atrocities committed in Ukraine