Contemporary conflicts in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere have prompted increased attention to the destruction of cultural heritage and property as a weapon of war, and as a significant element in broader campaigns of violence against civilian populations involving crimes such as murder, sexual violence and enslavement. It is increasingly evident that cultural property is not simply at risk from incidental harm, but is being intentionally attacked as part of cultural cleansing campaigns. Preventing attacks against cultural property must be the first priority, but accountability should also be a core element in the international community’s response to ongoing crimes. This article surveys the prosecution of attacks against cultural property by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) over the course of its mandate. The aim is to contribute to a better understanding of these crimes and their successful prosecution among scholars, practitioners, policy-makers and the general public alike. Practices and lessons learned from the ICTY can now be a foundation for other national and international criminal courts to build upon.
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