Netherlands opens Ukrainian war damage claims platform in The Hague

THE HAGUE - The Netherlands was named the host country for a new organization which will record claims filed by Ukrainians over damages caused by the was in their country. The Register of Damage for Ukraine opened in The Hague on Tuesday, with an initial mandate to review reports about damage to homes and real estate. 

"We will also be discussing whether, and if so, how we can use frozen Russian assets, or at least their proceeds to support Ukraine in its self-defence, in its reconstruction efforts, and to compensate Russia's victims," said Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Hanke Bruins Slot at a press conference at the World Forum in The Hague. 

The register formally opened during the Restoring Justice for Ukraine conference at the convention center earlier in the day. Bruins Slot spoke at the event, and the 44 countries that participated in the conference agreed to investigate if Russian assets can be used to compensate Ukrainian people for damages suffered. 

Bruins Slot said over a hundred damage reports were filed within hours after the register opened. "It's a sign of how high the demand is, but it's also a sign of how thirsty people are for justice," said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba after touring the opening of the register's office. 

The intention is to soon begin allowing Ukrainians to also file claims for damage unrelated to real estate, including personal injury claims. "As an international organization, the register will take all of the requests from Ukrainians from now on and assess them. It will be in charge of providing compensation." 

"The register is the first step towards a fully fledged compensation mechanism, which will have the power to deny or grant registered claims," Bruins Slot said. The formation of a claims commission to evaluate the damage reports is the next step. 

"The start of Russia's war full-scale war in against Ukraine left tens of thousands dead and injured, and millions more displaced. Over 100,000 alleged international crimes have been documented so far. More than 200,000 homes, almost 4,000 schools, and some 400 hospitals either lie in ruins, or are badly damaged," 

The Netherlands is also contributing 10 million euros this year to support investigations and prosecutions carried out by Ukraine.