Intangible Cultural Heritage – joint publication of the Project HEURIGHT and Santander Art and Culture Law Review

We are pleased to present you with the latest issue of the biannual “Santander Art and Culture Law Review” (SAACLR) (2017, Vol. 3) devoted to the topic of successes, problems and challenges surrounding intangible cultural heritage ten years after the entry into force of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (the 2003 Convention). This issue of the SAACLR is compiled with the consortium HEURIGHT and co-edited with two renowned experts in the field: Hanna Schreiber from the University of Warsaw, Deputy President of the Polish Intangible Cultural Heritage Council and member of the HEURIGHT Research Team; and Lucas Lixinski from the University of New South Wales, the author of the first comprehensive monograph on the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage in international law (Oxford University Press, 2013) and member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies. In addition to their co-editing of this issue, they also offered introductions to the sections entirely devoted to the leading theme: interviews, research articles, and debuts.

The other sections of the issue are not directly related to the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage. The two articles in the commentaries section deal with domestic cultural heritage law. Agnieszka Jachec-Neale examines the 2017 ratification by the United Kingdom of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two Protocols. Her article discusses both the process of ratification and its legislative outcome within the British legal system. The contribution by Luis Javier Capote Pérez offers a brief analysis of the public/private law divide in relation to the legal protection of cultural heritage in Spain. In particular, he explores and substantiates how and to what extent the general interest of the community in safeguarding and preserving cultural heritage, as provided by public law regulations and enforced by public administration, may limit the property rights of private owners of cultural assets. In turn, the varia section is entirely devoted to the new cultural heritage treaty of the Council of Europe: the Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property, opened for signature on 19 May 2017. The article by Mateusz Maria Bieczyński focuses on the basic questions regarding the conditions of effectiveness of this treaty, the context of its adoption, and its envisaged consequences for the protection of cultural property.

This issue of the SAACLR also offers a section dedicated to analysis of criminal threats to cultural heritage in Poland in 2017. Olgierd Jakubowski examines the various types of crimes committed against cultural property, including theft and destruction, based on his analysis of the statistics from both the Polish police forces and Poland’s border and customs services.

We hope that you will enjoy this new issue of the “Santander Art and Culture Law Review”. We encourage you to contact us (at: if you wish to reply to the call for papers, or just to express your opinion regarding the content of our volumes.

See the entire issue in Open Access.

New HEURIGHT Publications – Two Case Studies

We are pleased to announce the publication of two case-studies prepared within the framework of the Project HEURIGHT:


The Project  has critically investigated how the European Union (EU) frames and addresses cultural heritage in its law and policy. Acknowledging the changing and often contested conceptualisations of cultural heritage, it has endeavoured to map how its evolving notion affects the forms of protection, access to, and governance of heritage, within the institutional, operational and legal structures of the EU. In particular, it has dealt with the complex organisational and regulatory frameworks concerned with cultural heritage, trade and human rights in place in the EU and its Members States, as well as their interaction, cross-fertilisation, and possible overlaps. Hence the Project’s agenda has been designed, on the one hand, to comprehensively explore and substantiate the role of cultural heritage for the regional European integration and, on the other, to explain and debate the uniqueness of the EU model of cultural heritage governance vis-à-vis global efforts aiming to respect and safeguard cultural heritage and diversity around the world as global commons. Drawing upon a matrix of research focused on both theoretical and practical aspects of the EU’s action in the realm of cultural heritage, HEURIGHT14 has offered cross-cutting insights on how heritage is currently defined, used and managed in decision- and policy-making. At the same time, it has also proposed avenues to strengthen its protection, access, and governance, thus offering an important contribution to the fields of human rights, EU law, international relations, anthropology and heritage studies.

The Project was implemented by an international consortium, established on 15 June 2015 and comprising three research teams, associate partners and experts. The consortium was chaired by Dr. Andrzej Jakubowski, the Project Leader (PL), based in Poland, and managed by two other Principal Investigators (PIs): Kristin Hausler (United Kingdom) and Prof. Francesca Fiorentini (Italy). The University of Fine Arts in Poznan (Poland) was the institutional leader of the Project and forms a national consortium with two research centres of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw: the Institute of Law Studies and the Institute of Art. The British Institute of International and Comparative Law in London and the Department of Legal Science, Language, Interpreting and Translation Studies of the University of Trieste were the two other institutional members of the transnational research consortium.

The Project HEURIGHT14 had two specific objectives. Firstly, it was intended to provide a theoretical re-conceptualization of the right to cultural heritage, focusing not only on positive law and jurisprudence, but also on soft-law rules, diplomacy and cultural cooperation as possible alternative devices for fostering inter-cultural dialogue and understanding. Secondly, in its practical perspective, the Project was designed to analyse how the technical tools used to manage and protect cultural heritage, in particular digitization processes with the development of databases, virtual museums, etc., are currently considered and how they could be further developed to strengthen the enforcement of the right to cultural heritage throughout the EU, including as part of its external action. Accordingly, the Project’s consortium has conducted research in the following interlinked areas: i) EU constitutional law; ii) EU cultural heritage cooperation with other international organizations (including the recent cultural heritage involvement of the UN Security Council); iii) the case law of the European Court of Justice and European Court of Human Rights in relation to cultural heritage and the rights attached to it; iv) cultural heritage and EU investment agreements; v) cultural heritage within the EU’s External Action; vi) the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage in the EU ten years after the entry into force of the 2003 UNESCO Convention; vii) the movement of cultural objects in the EU; viii) the EU’s cultural heritage agenda in neighbourhood policies; ix) the digitisation of cultural heritage in the EU. It is also important to highlight that the British Team, as a result of the EU referendum in the UK, has added the impact of Brexit on cultural heritage within the remit of its research. The Project’s consortium has also performed its specific case-studies (Polish Team: Poland-Ukraine and Eastern Partnership, Poland-Germany cultural heritage legal relations; British Team: access of cultural heritage in the UK, including in  its external relations (with the EU but also with former colonies) and through digitisation; Italian Team: EU and Western Balkans). Last but not least, the Project has developed six online exhibitions of historical survey photography collections documenting the non-existent cultural heritage of Europe’s Eastern Borderlands, preserved at the Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences, in Warsaw. The core aim of these galleries has been to foster a discussion on the access to forgotten and contested cultural heritage through digital technologies. This component of the Project was particularly important for the research concerning the EU digital heritage agenda and those relating to contested heritage (in particular the case of Istria and Polish-Ukrainian borderlands).

The Project’s results have been widely debated, promoted and disseminated. The consortium has hosted three large conferences, four large public events and several smaller events. These activities have led to engagement with a variety of stakeholders, including scholars, policy-makers, representatives of public institutions, and the general public. In 2018, the Project’s events have been granted the label of the European Year of Cultural Heritage (EYCH). The key findings have also been presented in a number of international scientific conferences. The consortium has published a number of research papers. In particular, the consortium in cooperation with the Editorial Board of the Santander Art & Culture Law Review (SAACLR; indexed at ERIH+) have prepared two important thematic research series: ‘The Return of Cultural Objects within the European Union – Implementing the Directive 2014/60/EU’ (2016, vol. 2, no 2); and ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage – Successes, Problems and Challenges 10 Years After the Entry into Force of the UNESCO 2003 Convention’ (2017, vol. 3, no 2; forthcoming). Both publications gathered the leading experts in the fields of the movement of cultural goods and the safeguarding of intangible heritage, respectively. Alongside these topical research series, the members of the consortium published their work in peer-reviewed edited volumes and first-tier international journals in the field, including the International Journal of Cultural Policy, Italian Yearbook of International Law, Art, Antiquity & Law, International Journal of Cultural Property, Chinese Journal of International Law, European Journal of Comparative Law and Governance, and International Journal of Intangible Heritage. In 2017, the contract for the Project’s final peer-reviewed monograph was signed with BRILL-Nijhoff. As a result, the volume titled Cultural Heritage, Cultural Rights and the European Union: A Critical Inquiry, edited by Andrzej Jakubowski, Kristin Hausler and Francesca Fiorentini, will be published by the end of 2018 in ‘BRILL Studies in Intercultural Human Rights’. The Project’s consortium intends to present and promote it in December 2018, during the final events of the EYCH.

Download the Final Report.

New publications by Kristin Hausler and Andrzej Jakubowski

We are pleased to announce that Kristin Hausler and Andrzej Jakubowski have just published two studies regarding the evolving role of the United Nations Security Council and the protection of cultural heritage in the event of an armed conflict in the Questions of International Law (QIL):

QIL is an open-source peer-reviewed e-journal, founded in 2014, which aims to foster the debate on questions of public international law by providing a dynamic platform for scholars and practitioners. These two studies are published in the ‘Zoom-in’ section, focused on recent judicial and diplomatic practice, as well as on other events of interests, mainly with the aim to explore or review the underlying legal issues.

This QIL ‘Zoom-in’ section has been edited by Dr. Sabrina Urbinati, Postdoctoral Fellow in international law at the School of Law of the University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan (Italy), who is also the author of the introductory note.

New HEURIGHT publication by Paola Monaco, ‘Cultural Heritage, Development, Tourism and Global Indicators. The Experience of Western Balkan Countries’

We are pleased to announce that our new HEURIGHT paper, authored by Paola Monaco and entitled ‘Cultural Heritage, Development, Tourism and Global Indicators. The Experience of Western Balkan Countries’ has just been published in the prestigious European Journal of Comparative Law and Governance.

Monaco P., ‘Cultural Heritage, Development, Tourism and Global Indicators. The Experience of Western Balkan Countries’ (2018) European Journal of Comparative Law and Governance 5(1), pp. 89-114


In recent times, there has been increased attention paid to and interest in the protection of culture and cultural heritage in the Western Balkans. Among the wide array of interventions and projects which have been developed in this field over the years, this paper offers a comparative review of the main two global initiatives proposing the collection and publication of indicators on culture, development, and tourism: the UNESCO Culture for Development Indicators, and the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s Sustainable Tourism Indicators. The analysis of Western Balkan countries using these indicators helps us to see how they work in practice and what possible developmental outcomes they are likely to produce in both the short- and the long-term.


New HEURIGHT publication by Mateusz M. Bieczyński, ‘The Right to Cultural Heritage in the Law of the European Union’

Wolters Kluwer Poland has just published a chapter by Mateusz Bieczyński (from the Polish team), entitled  ‘Prawo do dziedzictwa kulturowego w prawie Unii Europejskiej [The Right to Cultural Heritage in the Law of the European Union]’, in the volume Prawo wobec kultury i sztuki [Law in relation to Culture and the Arts] (Wolters Kluwer 2017), edited by J. Sobczak, K. Chałubińska-Jentkiewicz, K. Kakareko.

The book presents the challenges faced by the legal regulation in the sphere of culture and the arts. The authors raise the issues of ethics, cultural heritage management, cultural policy, digitization and access to cultural heritage, and describe selected more specific problems, such as the promotion of culture and the arts, or taxation of artists.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on cultural heritage after Brexit

Kristin Hausler, a head of the British HEURIGHT team, has just published a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on cultural heritage after Brexit, which discusses: the current EU framework for the movement of cultural goods, the benefits of the current system, what happens after Brexit, as well as the potential future arrangements between the UK and the EU. This FAQ is intended to present a very short outline of the main issues relating to cultural heritage post-Brexit, with a particular focus on the movement of cultural goods.

It can be accessed at the BIICL website.

Armed Non-State Actors and Cultural Heritage in Armed Conflict

On 14 December 2017, the International Journal of Cultural Property published an article co-authored by Marina Lostal (Hague University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands), Kristin Hausler (BIICL and a member of the HEURIGHT team) and Pascal Bongard (Head of the Policy and Legal Unit at Geneva Call, Switzerland), entitled “Armed Non-State Actors and Cultural Heritage in Armed Conflict”.


This article presents the preliminary findings of a scoping study that Geneva Call is conducting to understand the existing dynamics between armed non-state actors (ANSAs) and cultural heritage. Geneva Call is a Swiss-based nongovernmental organization dedicated to promoting the respect of international humanitarian law by ANSAs. The study centres on three case studies—Syria, Iraq, and Mali—on which information has been obtained through desk and field research, interviews with ANSAs operating in those countries, and with leading organizations committed to the protection of cultural heritage, globally or regionally. The article first maps the various attitudes of ANSAs toward cultural heritage, highlighting both positive and negative examples from current practices. Then it analyzes the response of specialized organizations to the impact of ANSAs on cultural heritage and their level of engagement with these actors on cultural heritage issues. Finally, the conclusion offers some tentative recommendations to enhance the respect of cultural heritage by ANSAs in non-international armed conflicts.

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“.



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.