Permanent Mission of Australia
to the United Nations
New York

220427 - UN Security Council Arria Formula Meeting on Ensuring Accountability for Atrocities Committed in Ukraine


27 April 2022

Statement by H.E. The Hon. Mitch Fifield, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations

Australia thanks Albania and France for arranging this necessary meeting on accountability for Ukraine. 

We are pleased to co-sponsor.

And I should also indicate that Australia aligns itself with the statement made by Danish Foreign Minister Kofod on behalf of the Group of Friends of Accountability following the Aggression against Ukraine.

We thank today’s briefers, who have given us important insights into the complexities and challenges of holding perpetrators to account for serious international crimes being committed in real time.

However, in the face of these challenges, we must persevere. 

Accountability is critical for any hope of a credible and lasting peace. 

Accountability is critical for deterring the commission of further atrocities in Ukraine.  

Australia again condemns the Russian Federation’s unprovoked, unjust and illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s act of aggression in invading Ukraine is a gross violation of international law. 

Russia’s act of aggression is a gross violation of the UN Charter’s prohibition on the use of force.  

We yet again call on Russia to immediately withdraw its forces, consistent with the legally binding decision of the International Court of Justice on provisional measures [16 March].  

Russia has committed egregious war crimes across Ukraine. We are appalled by the horrific acts perpetrated by Russian forces in Bucha, Mariupol and other cities:

  • torture
  • mass executions
  • rape
  • shelling civilians
  • forced deportations of adults 
  • forced deportations of children
  • starving cities through sieges

This list of atrocities grows daily. 

It is imperative that we ensure accountability for the crimes committed in Ukraine. 

That’s why Australia joined 40 Rome Statute States Parties to refer the situation in Ukraine to the International Criminal Court. 

Australia strongly supports Prosecutor Karim Khan opening an investigation. And we are pleased to support his Office at this exceptionally challenging time, including through our decision to send professional staff to assist with its work.

We see the ICC as a key mechanism for identifying the crimes committed and those responsible.

We must stand by the rules and norms to which we have all committed. 

We must hold Russia to account for its invasion of Ukraine. 

To this end, Australia has joined global partners in imposing far­reaching sanctions to inflict heavy costs on those responsible or those who hold levers of power.

The international community stands in solidarity with Ukraine:

  • The UN General Assembly has demanded Russia withdraw its forces.
  • The UN General Assembly has suspended Russia from the Human Rights Council. 

These actions send a strong signal that Russia’s violations of international law will not be met with impunity.  

We will continue to work in lock step with the international community to support Ukraine and to hold Russia accountable for its actions.