- Ethnic cleansing — Genocide — Armed conflict
This chapter looks at how international criminal law has become a crucial tool to foster the protection of cultural heritage. On the normative level, the main developments consisted in the introduction of rules criminalizing acts against cultural property in binding treaties dealing with the protection of cultural property in times of armed conflict. Then, international criminal tribunals (ICTs) paved the way for implementing individual criminal responsibility. Three different and partially divergent approaches have characterized the criminalization of acts against cultural property. The first two—civilian use and cultural value—emerged in different moments and had a strong impact on the drafting of rules criminalizing acts against cultural property in times of armed conflict. The third one, the human dimension approach, developed from the jurisprudence of ICTs and characterizes both the qualification of acts against cultural property as crimes against humanity and their role in proving the mental element of genocide.
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