New frontiers in the protection of cultural heritage in armed conflict

Expert lecture - 

During this HILAC lecture, we speak to researcher Marina Lostal Becerril about protecting cultural heritage in armed conflicts. Marina has researched the behaviour of armed non-state groups in Iraq, Mali and Syria. What is their attitude towards the protection of cultural heritage?

Armed conflicts change societies in many unimaginable ways. The destruction of cultural heritage makes this clearly visible. Ancient monuments are destroyed and can never be rebuilt. This directly affects the identity and pride of people and nations.

In order to protect cultural heritage, a treaty was drawn up 65 years ago: the Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property. This treaty, together with the two associated Protocols, requires countries to do everything possible to protect cultural heritage, according to certain laws. However, non-state groups in particular are now involved in armed conflicts. Such groups are unable to sign this treaty, or other international treaties, which are drawn up exclusively for states. So how do these non-state groups view the protection of cultural heritage? And how can we create an international legal system that is better able to protect cultural heritage during the conflicts of today?

About the speakers

  • Marina Lostal Becerril is a lecturer in International Law at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. For Geneva Call, she researched the views of non-state groups on the protection of cultural heritage. She used Syria, Iraq and Mali as case studies. In her subsequent report, she makes recommendations to improve the protection of cultural heritage during non-international armed conflicts. Geneva Call is an NGO that seeks to increase knowledge and respect for international humanitarian law among non-state armed groups.
  • Erin Rosenberg is a legal officer for the Trust Fund for Victims of the International Criminal Court. During this programme, she talks about the reparations devised for victims of the destruction of cultural property in respect of the Al Mahdi case, which was brought before the ICC in 2016.

About this programme

The Hague Initiative for Law and Armed Conflict (HILAC) is an initiative of the T.M.C. Asser InstituteThe Netherlands Red Cross, and the Amsterdam Center for International Law. The HILAC Lecture Series aims to bring together all those interested in the field of international humanitarian law.

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