War Crimes and their Prosecution

Invitation Only
Research Event

5 March 2020 – 9:00am to 10:30am

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Chatham House | 10 St James’s Square | London | SW1Y 4LE

Michelle Butler, Barrister, Matrix Chambers
Charles Garraway, Visiting Fellow, Human Rights Centre, University of Essex
Additional speaker to be confirmed
Chair: Elizabeth Wilmshurst, Distinguished Fellow, International Law Programme, Chatham House

 

The International Criminal Court cannot act when crimes are being genuinely prosecuted in a state. The meeting will discuss whether the ICC complementarity rules apply when a state puts restrictions on the prosecution of war crimes committed in particular circumstances or within a particular time period. In this context, the discussion will also cover the extent to which such restrictions are precluded by international obligations such as those in the Geneva Conventions with regard to the investigation and prosecution of war crimes.

Jacqueline Rowe

Programme Assistant, International Law Programme
020 7389 3287

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Chatham House Rule

Source: International Law and Governance

Pubblicato in Worldwide News | Commenti disabilitati su War Crimes and their Prosecution

Piu’ Europei Magazine – n. 49

Pubblicato in Piu’ Europei Magazine | Commenti disabilitati su Piu’ Europei Magazine – n. 49

Crimea’s Occupation Exemplifies the Threat of Attacks on Cultural Heritage


4 February
2020

Kateryna Busol

Kateryna Busol

Robert Bosch Stiftung Academy Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme

Societies, courts and policymakers should have a clearer awareness that assaults against cultural heritage constitute a creeping encroachment on a people’s identity, endangering its very survival.

2020-02-04-Bakhchysarai.jpg

'The destructive reconstruction of the 16th-century Bakhchysarai Palace is being conducted by a team with no experience of cultural sites, in a manner that erodes its authenticity and historical value.' Photo: Getty Images.

'The destructive reconstruction of the 16th-century Bakhchysarai Palace is being conducted by a team with no experience of cultural sites, in a manner that erodes its authenticity and historical value.' Photo: Getty Images.

Violations against cultural property – such as archaeological treasures, artworks, museums or historical sites – can be no less detrimental to the survival of a nation than the physical persecution of its people. These assaults on heritage ensure the hegemony of some nations and distort the imprint of other nations in world history, sometimes to the point of eradication.

As contemporary armed conflicts in Syria, Ukraine and Yemen demonstrate, cultural property violations are not only a matter of the colonial past; they continue to be perpetrated, often in new, intricate ways.

Understandably, from a moral perspective, it is more often the suffering of persons, rather than any kind of ‘cultural’ destruction, that receives the most attention from humanitarian aid providers, the media or the courts. Indeed, the extent of the damage caused by an assault on cultural property is not always immediately evident, but the result can be a threat to the survival of a people. This is strikingly exemplified by what is currently happening in Crimea.

Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula has been occupied by Russia since February 2014, meaning that, under international law, the two states have been involved in an international armed conflict for the last six years.

While much attention has been paid to the alleged war crimes perpetrated by the occupying power, reports by international organizations and the International Criminal Court (ICC) have been less vocal on the issue of cultural property in Crimea. Where they do raise it, they tend to confine their findings to the issue of misappropriation.

However, as part of its larger policy of the annexation and Russification of the peninsula and its history, Russia has gone far beyond misappropriation.

Crimean artefacts have been transferred to Russia – without security justification or Ukrainian authorization as required by the international law of occupation – to be showcased at exhibitions celebrating Russia’s own cultural heritage. In 2016, the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow staged its record-breaking Aivazovsky exhibition, which included 38 artworks from the Aivazovsky Museum in the Crimean town of Feodosia.

Other ‘cultural’ violations in the region include numerous unsanctioned archaeological excavations, whose findings are often unlawfully exported to Russia or end up on the black market.

There is also the example of Russia’s plan to establish a museum of Christianity in Ukraine’s UNESCO World Heritage site, the Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese. This is an indication of Russia’s policy of asserting itself as a bastion of Orthodox Christianity and culture in the Slavic world, with Crimea as one of the centres.

The harmful effects of Russia’s destructive cultural property policy can be seen in the situation of the Crimean Tatars, Ukraine’s indigenous Muslim people. Already depleted by a Stalin-ordered deportation in 1944 and previously repressed by the Russian Empire, the Crimean Tatars are now facing the destruction of much of the remainder of their heritage.

For example, Muslim burial grounds have been demolished to build the Tavrida Highway, which leads to the newly built Kerch Bridge connecting the peninsula to Russia.

The destructive reconstruction of the 16th-century Bakhchysarai Palace – the only remaining complete architectural ensemble of the indigenous people, included in the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List – is another example of how the very identity of the Crimean Tatars is being threatened. This reconstruction is being conducted by a team with no experience of cultural sites, in a manner that erodes its authenticity and historical value – which is precisely as Russia intends.

There is a solid body of international and domestic law covering Russia’s treatment of Crimea’s cultural property.

Under the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict – ratified by both Ukraine and Russia – the occupying power must facilitate the safeguarding efforts of the national authorities in occupied territories. States parties must prevent any vandalism or misappropriation of cultural property, and, according to the first protocol of the convention, the occupying power is required to prevent any export of artefacts from the occupied territory.

The 1907 Hague Regulations and the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention confirm that the authentic domestic legislation continues to apply in occupied territories. This leaves Russia with no excuse for non-compliance with Ukraine’s cultural property laws and imposing its own rules unless absolutely necessary.

Besides, both Ukrainian and Russian criminal codes penalise pillage in occupied territory, as well as unsanctioned archaeological excavations. As an occupying power, Russia must not just abstain from such wrongdoings in Crimea, but also duly investigate and prosecute the alleged misconduct.

The clarity of the international legal situation demonstrates that no exhibitions in continental Russia and no archaeological excavations which are not sanctioned by Ukraine can be justified. Likewise, any renovation or use of cultural sites, especially those on permanent or tentative UNESCO lists, must only be conducted pursuant to consultancy with and approval of the Ukrainian authorities.

But the resonance of the Crimean case goes beyond law and touches on issues of the very survival of a people. The Soviet deportation of the Crimean Tatars in 1944 did not only result in the deaths of individuals. Their footprints in Crimea have been gradually erased by baseless treason charges, the long exile of the indigenous community from their native lands and ongoing persecution.

First the Soviet Union and now Russia have targeted the Crimean Tatars’ cultural heritage to undermine their significance in the general historical narrative, making attempts to preserve or celebrate this culture seem futile. Russia is thus imposing its own historical and political hegemony at the expense of the Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian layers of Crimean history.

As exemplified by occupied Crimea, the manipulation and exploitation of cultural heritage can serve an occupying power’s wider policies of appropriating history and asserting its own dominance. Domestic cultural property proceedings are challenging due to the lack of access to the occupied territory, but they should still be pursued.

More effort is needed in the following areas: case prioritization; informing the documenters of alleged violations about the spectrum of cultural property crimes; developing domestic investigative and prosecutorial capacity, including by involving foreign expert consultancy; more proactively seeking bilateral and multilateral cooperation in art crime cases; liaising with auction houses (to track down objects originating from war-affected areas) and museums (to prevent the exhibition of the artefacts from occupied territories).

When possible, cultural property crimes should also be reported to the ICC.

Additionally, more international – public, policy, media and jurisprudential – attention to such violations is needed. Societies, courts and policymakers should have a clearer awareness that assaults against cultural heritage constitute a creeping encroachment on a people’s identity, endangering its very survival.

Source: International Law and Governance

Pubblicato in Worldwide News | Commenti disabilitati su Crimea’s Occupation Exemplifies the Threat of Attacks on Cultural Heritage

Piu’ Europei Magazine – n. 48

Pubblicato in Piu’ Europei Magazine | Commenti disabilitati su Piu’ Europei Magazine – n. 48

The Use of Sanctions to Protect Journalists

Members Event

13 February 2020 – 12:30pm to 1:45pm

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Chatham House | 10 St James’s Square | London | SW1Y 4LE

Professor Sarah Cleveland, Louis Henkin Professor of Human and Constitutional Rights; Faculty Co-Director, Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School

Ms Amal Clooney, Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers

The Honourable Irwin Cotler, Chair, Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights; Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of Canada (2003-06)

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Director, International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute

Lord Neuberger, President, Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (2012-17)

Maria Ressa, CEO, Rappler Online News Network

Chair: Elizabeth Wilmshurst CMG, Distinguished Fellow, International Law Programme, Chatham House

Attacks against journalists and challenges to media freedom are urgent and global. The sharp decline globally of democratic values which are underpinned in international values highlights the need for a free press and the necessity for states to take concerted action to protect media freedom. The High-Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom is an independent body convened at the request of the UK and Canadian governments in July 2019. The remit of the panel is to provide recommendations to governments on how to better protect journalists and address abuses of media freedom in line with international human rights law.

Drawing on the panel’s new report, the speakers will discuss the use of targeted sanctions to protect journalists and a free press. Can the threat of targeted sanctions help curb the trend of increasing abuses against journalists? And what legal frameworks and mechanisms will be necessary to ensure targeted sanctions achieve their goal of identifying, preventing and punishing abuses against journalists?

This event will be livestreamed.
 
This event is organized in collaboration with the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute which acts as the secretariat to the High-Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom.

This event is open to Chatham House members only. Not a member? Find out more

For further infomration on the different types of Chatham House events, visit Our Events Explained

 

Members Events Team

Source: International Law and Governance

Pubblicato in Worldwide News | Commenti disabilitati su The Use of Sanctions to Protect Journalists