1st Edition

Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage and the Law A Research Companion

Edited By Alberta Fabbricotti Copyright 2025
    380 Pages
    by Routledge

    The widespread dissemination of videos of the destruction of world cultural heritage sites over the past two decades, such as the Buddhas of Bamiyan and the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, have shocked the world. These acts are perhaps the clearest and most glaring examples of what is meant by the ‘Intentional Destruction of the Cultural Heritage of Humankind’ (IDCHH).

    The book explores in detail the remedies against IDCHH available under international law. These remedies are defined as all the lawful responses provided for both by customary law and by the special responsibility regimes created under the many substantive areas of international law. The examination includes UNESCO instruments and UN measures for the maintenance of international peace, mechanisms for the protection of human rights and those for the protection of investments, and international criminal justice outcomes through the decisions of the Permanent Criminal Court. Thus, the book explores avenues for response such as appeals to international courts, peacekeeping operations and referrals to the criminal legislation of States, in addition to reparations. The concept of the Cultural Heritage of Humankind implies that IDCHH harms all States and all peoples and human groupings in the world, not only the State or people on whose territory the cultural property is located. The book identifies the international law avenues for subjects not directly injured by IDCHH to obtain its cessation and reparation. 

    This book is essential reading for students, academics and practitioners exploring international law and the destruction of cultural heritage.

    1. The Intentional Destruction of the Cultural Heritage of Humankind: What Are the Remedies under International Law? Preliminary Considerations

    Alberta Fabbricotti

    Part 1. The (Re)Actions against IDCHH in the UN System

    Section 1. The UNESCO:  Achievements and Shortcomings

    2. State Responsibility for the IDCHH between UNESCO Rules and ASR

     Patrizia Vigni

    3. Sanctioning Cultural War Crimes: From the 1954 Hague Convention to National Legislations

     Lorenzo De Poli and Alberta Fabbricotti

    4. The 2003 Declaration concerning the Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage: A Step Back?

     Federico Lenzerini and Angela Federico

    5. The Italian/UNESCO Task Force and Other Initiatives

      Costanza Rizzetto

     6. Unpacking Expert Authority: The Case of Italy's Unite4Heritage Taskforce

      Jessica Wiseman and Raghavi Viswanath

     Section 2. The Relevance of IDCHH as A Threat against International Peace and Security

     7.The Security Council Resolutions addressing IDCHH

     Kristin Hausler

     8. IDCHH: What Role for UN Peacekeeping Operations?

      Laura Pineschi

     9. The UN Counter-Terrorism Committees and the Sanctions against Individuals

     Erkan Akdogan

     Part 2. The Reparation for IDCHH in the Jurisprudence of the Human Rights Courts

     10. The Preliminary Question of the Nature of the Rights infringed by IDCHH: Individual, Collective or Group Rights

    Federico Lenzerini

     11. Cultural Heritage as a Human Right in Times of Peace and Conflict: Measures of Legal Protection

    Leila Amineddoleh and Claudia Quinones Vila

     12. The “Victim” of IDCHH and the Entitlement to Submit a Claim

      Ann Marie Thake

     13. Forms of Reparation and Avenues for Enforcement under International Human Rights Mechanisms

    Leonard Hammer

     Part 3. The Remedies under International Investment Law

     14. International Investment Law and the Protection of Cultural Heritage: Reconciling State Obligations, Building Investors’ Duties

     Ludovica Chiussi Curzi and Niccolò Lanzoni

     15. The Avenues for Obtaining Redress for IDCHH under the International Investment Law

     Valentina Vadi

     16. A Critical Analysis of Compensation in Investment Arbitration related to Potential IDCHH

     Victor Stoica

     17. Remedial Options after the Destruction of the Juukan Gorge Caves: A Lost Cause (of Action)?

     Edward Guntrip

     Part 4. The Punishment of the Destroyers under International Criminal Law

     18. IDCHH as a War Crime: Which Effectiveness for the Current Legal Framework?

     Francesca Sironi De Gregorio

     19. IDCHH as a Crime against Humanity

     Kerstin von der Decken and Pablo Gavira Díaz

     20. The Al Mahdi Case between Erga Omnes Obligations and Right to Reparation: the International Community as a Victim or as a Donor?

     Elisa Ruozzi

     21. Rationales for the Protection and Destruction of Cultural Heritage: A Missed Opportunity for Clarification in the Case of Al Mahdi

    Noelle Higgins

     22. The Collective Interest at the ICC: International Community as a Victim of International Crimes

     Alice Lopes Fabris

     23.The 2021 Policy on Cultural Heritage of the ICC: New Perspectives and Uncertainties of Criminal Justice

     Karolina Wierczyńska and Andrzej Jakubowski

     24. The Criminalization of the Intentional Destruction of Assets belonging to Humanity’s Cultural Heritage

     Chiara Venturini and Sophia Schiavon

     25. The Intentional Destruction of the Cultural Heritage of Humankind: What Are the Remedies under International Law? Final Considerations

    Alberta Fabbricotti


    Alberta Fabbricotti is Associate Professor of International Law at the Department of Legal and Economic Studies, Faculty of Law, La Sapienza University, Rome. She teaches International Law and EU Law. She is a Member of the Teaching Staff Council for the doctorate in Public, Comparative and International Law, Programme in International Law and Human Rights. Alberta has published three monographs and many articles and essays in the fields of international economic law, international protection of human and peoples’ rights and refugee law. She headed and still is the Director of several research teams under the funding of La Sapienza University. She also works as an Expert Reviewer for the EU Commission, ANVUR (Italian National Agency of University System and Research Evaluation), for the Polish National Science Centre (NCN) for the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and MIUR (Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research) for the evaluation of research projects and results.