Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage and Reparations

CRC Press
Publication Type:
Culture and International Law, 2021
Issue Date:
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The cultural heritage should be protected all the time. None of the high contracting parties in the hostilities could destroy or even use it as their shield. The role of international responsibility – whether it be individual criminal responsibility, State responsibility, and the responsibility of the international organisations – and reparations in addressing and responding to intentional destruction of cultural heritage shall be clear. The overlap between prohibition against the destruction of cultural property, individual criminal responsibility and reparations evolved in lockstep with international humanitarian law and international criminal law generally. Therefore, this paper examines the Al Mahdi Judgment, Sentencing and Reparations Order in this broader context, from the IMT, the ad hoc Tribunals, to the ICC today, to better understand why and how international law is addressing the intentional destruction of cultural property. The first part of this paper will examines the general rationales for sentencing in international criminal law and how these translate into conduct directed at cultural property from war crimes, crimes against humanity (particularly persecution) and genocide. The second part considers reparations awarded in respect of these crimes, again by considering the rationale for reparations generally and then as it’s translates in respect crimes covering cultural property. The concluding part considers the cleavages and cross-purposes that the ICC Judgment reveals in respect of the priorities of the international community and the ability of international law to address them.
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