Intersections in International Cultural Heritage Law
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2020
Recent conflicts throughout the Middle East and North Africa illustrate that the bifurcation in the international legal regime between those instruments that apply to armed conflict and those that apply to the movement of cultural objects, primarily during peacetime, has severely hampered our ability to protect archaeological sites from looting and has necessitated several sui generis legal instruments, including three UN Security Council resolutions. In addition, questions sometimes arise as to whom and to where cultural objects should be returned following situations of armed conflict and occupation, highlighting a tension between territorial principles that determine a sovereign State’s authority over cultural objects found within its territory and the strong cultural connection that links minority or excluded groups with disputed heritage objects. This chapter thereby points out two areas in which intersections are lacking—the intersection between instruments that regulate armed conflict and those that regulate international movement of cultural objects, and the intersection between cultural heritage law and human rights law. The chapter proposes that if these disparate sources of law could be integrated, more effective protection could be given to cultural heritage during armed conflict and there would be movement toward harmonization of rights of minority groups to cultural heritage and of States within the framework of international law.
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