Individual Responsibility for Deliberate Destruction of Cultural Heritage: Contextualizing the ICC Judgment in the Al-Mahdi Case

On 15 November 2017, the Chinese Journal of International Law published online a study by Karolina Wierczyńska and Andrzej Jakubowski from the Polish research team, entitled “Individual Responsibility for Deliberate Destruction of Cultural Heritage: Contextualizing the ICC Judgment in the Al-Mahdi Case“.

 

Abstract:

This article analyses how the International Criminal Court dealt, in the case of Al-Mahdi, with the crime of intentional attacks directed against protected cultural heritage sites. The case is discussed in the context of the previous experience and jurisprudence of other international criminal tribunals in prosecuting and punishing the perpetrators of cultural heritage crimes. In this respect, the article examines the complementary function of international criminal justice in relation to the shortcomings of national criminal jurisdictions. It also deals with a set of fundamental issues emerging at the junction of the international protection of cultural heritage and individual criminal responsibility, being the gravity of international crimes; cultural genocide as affecting the identity of a group; and the primary obligation of States to exercise criminal jurisdiction over individuals. The core aim of the article is thus to critically analyse the extent to which the ICC judgment in Al-Mahdi may be seen as a breakthrough towards a more efficient international mechanism for counteracting impunity in crimes against cultural heritage.

Special guest lectures by Charlotte Woodhead, 3 November 2017, University of Warsaw

On 3 November 2017, the Polish team of the Project HEURIGHT had the honour to host special guest lectures by Dr Charlotte Woodhead, from the University of Warwick.  Dr Woodhead’s research interests lie in cultural heritage law. She has studied and written on the restitution and repatriation of objects from museum collections. She has a particular interest in the work of the Spoliation Advisory Panel and the legal and self-imposed moral obligations under which museums act in their dealings with their collections and with the people they serve.

The lectures were addressed to the students of the Master Programme in Art History. Dr Woodhead explained legal, technical and financial difficulties and barriers to restitution of looted or plundered cultural property. In this context, she dealt with the realization of the 1998 Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art in various European jurisdictions. Special focus was given the actual practice of the Spoliation Advisory Panel in the United Kingdom. The Panel provides a mechanism to bring claims to recover cultural objects of which the original owners were dispossessed during the Nazi era. Its paramount purpose is to achieve a fair and just solution for the parties and it does this by assessing primarily moral considerations. By referring to particular cases reviewed by the Panel, Dr Woodhead offered broader observations on available remedies for past cultural wrongs and injustices.

The event was held at the Institute of Art History of the University of Warsaw.

Hanna Schreiber in NATO MP COE talks about culture

Hanna Schreiber, Polish Research Team, has been a guest speaker in the course organized for soldiers in the NATO Military Police Centre of Excellence located in Bydgoszcz (25-26 September 2017). Dr Schreiber has cooperated with the Centre for many years – it has been her 8th course already. She has delivered lectures on the topics of cross-cultural awareness, culture and cultural heritage protection in the operational environment. Twenty six participants from sixteen countries took part in the training.

Innovative legislation, policies and ICT tools for Forget Heritage, 12 September 2017, Bydgoszcz (Poland)

On 12 September 2017, two Principal Investigators of the Project HEURIGHT, Kristin Hausler and Andrzej Jakubowski, participated in the conference titled ‘Innovative legislation, policies and ICT tools for Forget Heritage’, organized by the City of Bydgoszcz (Poland). The conference was organized within the framework of the international project FORGET HERITAGE (titled ‘Innovative, replicable and sustainable Private Public Cooperation management models of the abandoned historical sites by setting up Cultural and Creative Industries’). The main aim of the project is promoting cooperation between European cities in order to identify innovative, replicable and sustainable management models of the historical sites by valorising them through setting up cultural and creative companies.

See full programme.

Global Public Goods, Global Commons and Fundamental Values: The Responses of International Law, 6-9 September 2017, Naples (Italy)

On 6-9 September 2017, Andrzej Jakubowski participated in the 13th Annual Conference of the European Society of International Law (ESIL) conference titled ‘Global Public Goods, Global Commons and Fundamental Values: The Responses of International Law’. The event took place in Naples (Italy), on 7-9 September 2017. The conference was hosted by the University of Naples Federico II. The opening session of the conference was held in the Teatrino di Corte, the King’s private opera theatre inside the Royal Palace, and the main conference was held in the Castel dell’Ovo, a magnificent medieval building which is the oldest standing fortification in Naples. Pre-conference ESIL Interest Group events were organized at the historical premises of the School of Law of the university.

The core objective of this conference was to explore how international law has responded, or can or should respond, to the fundamental challenge of defining and regulating global public goods, global commons and fundamental values. Andrzej Jakubowski presented a paper ‘Global Commons, Cultural Nationalism and the International Protection of Cultural Heritage’ at the 4th conference Agora The Protection of Cultural Heritage in International Law.

Full conference programme.

Intangible Cultural Heritage in Nature: Spaces, Resources and Practices, 7-9 September 2017, Riga (Latvia)

Hanna Schreiber, from Polish research team, took part in the ICH seminar in Riga (Latvia), organized by dr Anita Vaivade, UNESCO Chair on Intangible Cultural Heritage Policy and Law within the framework of the project OSMOSE, 7-9.09, titled: ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage in Nature: Spaces, Resources and Practices’. The seminar hosted researchers from Latvia, France, United States, Lithuania, Estonia, Iceland and Poland. First day of the seminar was held in Salacgriva, within the natural bioreserve, the only biosphere reserve in Latvia, covering the 60-kilometer long Vidzeme shoreline of the Gulf of Riga and broad territories of North Vidzeme region, including one of the biggest areas of raised bogs in the Baltic states, as well as the largest area of littoral or randu meadows in Latvia. The second day, in the format of an open conference took place in the Latvian Academy of Culture in Riga. Hanna Schreiber discussed the issues related to the implementation of the 2003 UNESCO Convention into national legislation, she presented an example of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, a site inscribed on the World Heritage List, due to its intangible importance. She also addressed problems related to building bridges between 1972 and 2003 Conventions.

Folk Art, 6 September 2017, Lublin (Poland)

Member of our team, Hanna Schreiber gave an opening speech on the Polish Culture Conference on folk art, that was held in Lublin, on 6th September 2017, in the Centre for the Meeting with Cultures. The title of her speech was: ‘The Protection of Folk Creators in Europe and in the World: Comparative View on 10 Countries’. She also moderated the first panel, hosting as speakers Professor Sławomir Ratajski, Secretary General of the Polish UNESCO National Committee and Adam Jankiewicz, a constitutional lawyer and expert in heritage matters.
The Conference was opened by Wanda Zwinogrodzka, Vice-minister of Culture, and is a part of nation-wide consultations with diverse groups: researchers, NGO representatives, local communities and folk artists on the foreseen ammendments in the legal regulations protecting culture, cultural acitivities and cultural heritage in Poland.
See conference site.

New HEURIGHT publication by Kristin Hausler and Richard Mackenzie-Gray Scott

We are pleased to announce that our new HEURIGHT paper, authored by Kristin Hausler and Richard Mackenzie-Gray Scott, entitled ‘Outside the Debate? The Potential Impact of Brexit for Cultural Heritage in the UK’ has just been published in the prestigious Art Antiquity and Law, Volume XXII, Issue 2, July 2017, pp. 101-117.

 

Abstract:

Following the European Union (EU) referendum of 24 June 2016, the EU Single Market has been the key talking point, with trade deals, investment partnerships and Schengen being the other main points of discussion. Cultural heritage, which refers to all forms of tangible and intangible culture that have been inherited from past generations, has so far been left outside this debate. This article provides an objective assessment of the risks posed to this heritage in the UK if it is no longer part of the EU, and the factors that the UK will need to consider as it negotiates its exit from the EU. In particular, it considers the legislation and funding streams that the UK benefits from as an EU Member State, which Brexit puts in jeopardy.

European Summer School on Methods and Techniques in Social Sciences, Budapest (Hungary)

Hanna Schreiber took part in the European Summer School on Methods and Techniques in Social Sciences, organized by the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) in Budapest at the premises of the Central European University (CEU), 29 July – 5 August 2017.

She took part in a one week course titled ‘Epxerts Interviews’, taught by Alenka Jelen-Sanchez, combining the training with the research on heritage matters in the CEU Library in Budapest.