For almost 75 years, the Council of Europe has been a beacon of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe.
Today, Russia is writing a bloody page in European history.
The war of aggression is the gravest international crime of all.
Unfortunately, the International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction in this case.
This is an unbearable gap in international law.
Therefore, shortly after the Russian attack, I proposed setting up an international ad hoc tribunal to try this case.
This is necessary for three reasons.
First, to do justice for Ukraine.
Second, to uphold the standard of international law achieved after the Second World War, which forbids aggressive wars.
And third, not to undermine the credibility of our democratic values.
The last reason is particularly important for the Council of Europe, which is or at least should be an organization of democratic states, based on the rule of law.
Latvia and dozens of other states are already working together in the United Nations to set up the international ad hoc tribunal on the crime of aggression.
Legally it is possible. All what is needed, is political will.
I call on you all, dear colleagues, to join this initiative.
Russia must also compensate Ukraine for all losses.
I, therefore, welcome the decision to establish the Register of Damage caused by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
Latvia is among the Register’s founding members, and we invite other countries to join it.
The Council of Europe must also address new challenges, such as the impact of digital technologies on democracy and human rights.
I encourage to speed up the work on the new legal instrument on artificial intelligence. Otherwise, it may be too late.
We must ensure that digital technologies meet the standards of human rights and that they do not infringe on the democratic processes of our societies.
To do this, we have to be politically and legally creative and courageous.
Later today, Latvia will assume its second Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
It is our collective duty to prevent democratic backsliding by protecting our common values and freedoms.