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Monday, 17 July 2017

EU Council: Declaration by the High Representative, Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the EU on the occasion of the th...

Declaration by the High Representative, Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the EU on the occasion of the third anniversary of the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17

Today, three years after the tragic downing of flight MH17 on 17 July 2014, the European Union and its Member States reiterate their deepest sympathy and respect to all those who lost their loved ones that day. The tragedy of flight MH17, in which so many lives were lost, remains a constant source of sorrow and sadness for the European Union.

The European Union and its Member states reiterate their full support to the work of the Joint Investigation Team and welcome the important progress made over the last year. As the Joint Investigation Team's work as regards individual suspects continues, it is crucial that the investigators can complete their work, independently and thoroughly. We welcome the steps taken by the countries involved to come to an effective prosecution, as well as their decision to opt for the Dutch national justice system embedded in international cooperation and support as an important step towards bringing those responsible for downing flight MH17 to justice.

To ensure that those responsible for the downing of MH17 are held accountable and brought to justice, the criminal investigation needs the continuing support of the international community. We expect all the States that are in a position to assist the investigation and prosecution of those responsible to do so, as demanded by United Nations Security Council Resolution 2166.

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Declaration by the High Representative, Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the European Union on the occasion of the Day of International Criminal Justice, 17 July 2017

The 17th of July marks the date of the adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in 1998. This day is dedicated to celebrating the developments and achievements of international criminal justice institutions and to remind us that we need to continue working, at both national and international levels, to ensure that the perpetrators of the most serious crimes are brought to justice and held to account.

On this occasion, the European Union and its Member States reaffirm their full support to the International Criminal Court and to the strengthening of an international criminal justice system committed to deter the commission of crimes, to fight impunity and to ensure the protection of the victims' rights.

Justice is one of the core elements towards reconciliation and sustainable peace. Without justice, the most heinous crimes go unpunished, victims are unable to obtain redress and peace remains an elusive goal, since impunity generates more hatred, leading to acts of revenge and more suffering.

The European Union is one of the main donors in support of justice sector reform worldwide, strengthening law enforcement and justice institutions, promoting independent and impartial justice, and supporting access to justice for all. Since 2000, we have committed €37 million in direct support of the International Criminal Court.

The European Union has been also supporting transitional justice initiatives and international justice mechanisms related to specific countries. In the case of Syria, the EU has recently allocated funding amounting to €1,5 million to the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Persons Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in Syria. The EU calls on the international community to support to the Mechanism, including through adequate financial means, to ensure that it would be able to start work as soon as possible and fulfil its mandate, in line with the principles of universality and at the highest level of professionalism.

The European Union will continue to fully support multilateral global governance, based on international law, human rights and strong international institutions. In this regard, we remain committed to advance our fight against impunity, and to promote the universal ratification of the Rome Statute.

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Use of chemical weapons in Syria: EU imposes sanctions against 16 additional persons

On 17 July 2017, the Council added 16 persons to the list of those targeted by EU restrictive measures against the Syrian regime. The EU added these16 persons for their role in the development and use of chemical weapons against the civilian population, in line with the EU's policy to fight the proliferation and use of chemical weapons. These persons include 8 high-ranking military officials and 8 scientists involved in chemical weapons proliferation and delivery. The EU had already imposed  restrictive measures on high ranking officials , most recently on 4 March 2017  for the use of chemical weapons. 

Today's decision brings to 255 persons the total number of persons targeted by a travel ban and an assets freeze for being responsible for the violent repression against the civilian population in Syria, benefiting from or supporting the regime, and/or being associated with such persons. 

In addition, 67 entities are targeted by an assets freeze. More broadly, sanctions currently in place against Syria include an oil embargo, restrictions on certain investments, a freeze of the assets of the Syrian central bank held in the EU, export restrictions on equipment and technology that might be used for internal repression as well as on equipment and technology for the monitoring or interception of internet or telephone communications. These measures were last extended on 29 May 2017 and are in place until 1 June 2018. 

The EU remains committed to finding a lasting political solution to the conflict in Syria under the existing UN-agreed framework. As stated in the EU strategy on Syria adopted in April 2017, the EU believes that there can be no military solution to the conflict and strongly supports the work of the UN Special Envoy and the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva.  

As the leading donor in the international response to the Syrian crisis with over €9.4 billion from the EU and member states collectively allocated in humanitarian and development assistance since the start of the conflict, the EU continues to support the delivery of humanitarian aid to all Syrians, including those who are under siege or in areas which are hard to reach. The EU response also includes support to international institutions which work to ensure accountability for violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law. 

The EU will be ready to assist in the reconstruction of Syria only when a comprehensive, genuine and inclusive political transition, negotiated by the Syrian parties in the conflict on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 (2015) and the 2012 Geneva Communiqué, is firmly under way. 

The legal acts adopted by the Council, including the names of the persons concerned, are published in the Official Journal of 18 July 2017. 

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EU priorities at the United Nations and the 72nd UN General Assembly

The Council adopted conclusions on the EU priorities at the UN and at the 72nd UN General Assembly. 

The key EU priority will be to uphold, strengthen and reform the UN and the rules based global order. For the 72nd UNGA, the EU will focus on a stronger global governance, on peace and conflict prevention and on an enduring agenda for transformation. Gender equality and women's empowerment as well as women, peace and security will be mainstreamed into all three priority areas. 

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Iraq: Council agrees on a future CSDP mission to support security sector reform

The Council adopted a crisis management concept for a new civilian CSDP mission in Iraq. 

The mission will focus on assisting the Iraqi authorities in the implementation of the civilian aspects of the Iraqi security strategy. EU experts will provide advice and assistance in priority work areas responding to the needs of the relevant authorities. 

The national security strategy aims at building state institutions capable of consolidating security, peace and preventing conflicts under the rule of law, and outlines a number of threats to national security, including terrorism, corruption, political instability and ethnic and sectarian polarisation. 

In response to a request from the Iraqi authorities for support in the civilian security sector reform area, and in line with the Council conclusions on Iraq of 19 June, the EU agreed to prepare a civilian CSDP mission in Baghdad.  The adoption of a crisis management concept is the first step to launch a new CSDP mission, after which preparations to deploy begin. 

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