RSS

Cultural heritage

  • Looted Ethiopian Treasure

    April 19, 2018

    On April 13, it was the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Maqdala between the British empire and the Abyssinian empire, in modern day Ethiopia. The battle of 1868, which basically started as an expedition to free British hostages taken by the Abyssinian emperor, resulted in a decisive victory for the British and the suicide of the Abyssinian emperor Tewodros. In the aftermath, the British troops plundered the empire and loaded 15 elephants and almost 200 mules with their spoils. The Victoria and Albert Museum now hosts a special display with a number of the artifacts. This exposition raises the issue of the restitution of the looted artifacts to Ethiopia.

    Read more
  • Mali War Crimes Suspect Mr. Al Hassan Makes Initial Appearance Before the ICC

    April 5, 2018

    After the Al Mahdi case, a landmark trial, a second case has been referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Timbuktu, Mali between 2012 and 2013. Another Malian national, 40-year-old Mr Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud, faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He has been accused of destroying holy places, mausoleums of Muslim saints in Timbuktu and of enforcing a policy of forced marriage which had led to sexual slavery and rape of women and girls. The alleged crimes were committed between 2012 and 2013 when Timbuktu was under the control of militant islamists. From April 2012 until January 2013, Mr Al Hassan was head of the Islamic Police.

    Read more
  • Cultural Heritage

    Cultural Heritage distinguishes between Tangible Cultural Heritage and Intangible Cultural Heritage. Tangible Cultural Heritage can include archaeological sites, artifacts, buildings, monuments and culturally significant landscapes such as sacred places whereas Intangible Cultural Heritage can include language, oral histories, beliefs, rituals, ceremonies, customs, music, dance and other arts. The most important international organization that deals with Cultural Heritage is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

    Read more
  • Hide & Seek in the Art World

    March 23, 2017

    When we look at a piece of art, we enter the secret world of art. When we buy a piece of art, we enter the secret world of the art market. When anonymity in the art market is about protecting privacy, it’s a legitimate ground for secrecy. When secrecy paints a picture of a thinly regulated art trade where anonymity is used as playground to shield all kinds of doubtful behaviour and ownership, it is questionable. Law firms play a crucial role in this questionable secrecy in art market. Those law firms service their clients by incorporating and operating shell companies in ‘friendly’ jurisdictions and perform money laundering services as their core business. Law firms boost their client’s assets and inject them into the legal economy, through different money laundering schemes.

    Read more
  • The Emerging Legal Regime of Wrecks of Warships

    February 3, 2017

    The status in international law of operational warships has been long established. In contrast, the status of such vessels after they have sunk has been, and remains, a matter of considerable uncertainty. The 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) provides no rules whatsoever relating to sunken warships nor to wrecks more generally. However, over the last decades, technological advances have led to the discovery of many new wreck sites, fuelling commercial interest in these wrecks. As we have seen in our previous blog, illegal scavenging of war wrecks has caused significant upset among governments, war veterans and historians who want to preserve the final resting place of sailors who went down with their ships.

    Read more
  • Relief from Arch of Titus in Rome showing the spoils of Jerusalem

    ‘The World Forgetting, by the World Forgot’

    November 17, 2016

    At present there are many complex legal cases on cultural heritage waiting to be settled. These cases are a judicial challenge for all stakeholders. What makes it even more of a challenge is that most don’t realise the fact that cultural heritage is a component of a human rights issue. Cultural heritage could be described as a record of the genius of human beings. The legacy of artefacts, antiquities, traditions and living expressions could be seen as unintelligible foot print left behind for the next generations to mark our path through this world. It’s unimaginable to separate a people’s cultural heritage from the people itself and their rights.

    Read more
  • Cultural Property in Conflict

    August 4, 2016

    The destruction of cultural property is an old problem but still a topical issue. The destruction of cultural property in mostly Iraq and Syria is still a trending topic in the media. But it is not a new problem, cultural property has played a part in conflict and war throughout history. After the Second World War the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict 1954 was created to prevent this destruction in the future, but even then it continued. Irina Bokova, director general of UNESCO, called this destruction of cultural property in Iraq ‘cultural cleansing’. “They want to tell us that there is no memory, that there is no culture, that there is no heritage”.

    Read more
  • Text Speech Thomas von der Dunk on European Heritage Label for the Peace Palace

    Text Speech Thomas von der Dunk on European Heritage Label for the Peace Palace

    September 26, 2014

    On April 8, 2014, the European Commission in Brussels awarded the Peace Palace the European Heritage Label along with Dutch World War II Transit Camp Westerbork. During the official celebration at the Peace Palace in one of the ceremonial offices, the Small Court Room, one of the speakers was Thomas von der Dunk. Mr von der Dunk, an architectural historian, well known for his sometimes rather confronting publications in Dutch academic circles and newspaper articles, held a highly original speech, tracing the history of the Peace Palace from its origins, referring to the Roman Empire, the League of Nations, the Korean war, right to the problems of modern times.

    Read more
  • The Destruction of the Cathedral of Reims

    The Destruction of the Cathedral of Reims, 1914

    July 23, 2014

    On 20 September 1914, German shellfire burned, damaged and destroyed important parts of the magnificent Cathedral of Reims. The destruction of the Cathedral was generally regarded as an act of sheer vandalism. At the time, it was generally admitted by writers on international law that if the military commander of a besieged place used a church or other building whose immunity had been established, as a stronghold, a storehouse, or an observatory, the besieger might bombard the site without being held responsible for damages caused in consequence of their proximity to other buildings which are liable to bombardment. Even the French war manual itself admitted this.

    Read more
  • Invitation Extra Lecture on Nicholas Roerich, Tuesday, 13 May 2014

    Invitation Extra Lecture on Nicholas Roerich, Tuesday, 13 May 2014

    May 9, 2014

    Invitation for an extra Peace Palace Library Lecture on Nicholas Roerich, Artist and Lawyer, Founder of the 1935 Roerich Pact for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in Times of War and Peace, Tuesday, 13 May 2014, 17.00 – 18.00 in the Library and Academy Building of the Peace Palace.
     Invitation Extra Lecture on Nicholas Roerich, Tuesday, 13 May 2014

    Read more