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ICTY Legacy Dialogues: Documentary on Crimes against Cultural Heritage

The latest documentary of the Tribunal’s Outreach Programme, Dubrovnik and Crimes against Cultural Heritage, had its English language premiere yesterday at The Hague University of Applied Sciences, as part of the ICTY Legacy Dialogues series. The documentary provides an overview of the Tribunal’s work in adjudicating crimes of systematic destruction of institutions dedicated to religion, education or culture. The screening was attended by more than 120 guests, including diplomats, representatives of international and non-governmental organisations, lawyers, academics and students.

Welcoming the guests, Tribunal President Judge Carmel Agius said: Destruction of cultural heritage is a topic that, unfortunately, has regained prominence in today’s world […]. At the ICTY, we believe that our contribution to these efforts forms an important part of our legacy.

Following the screening, a panel discussion was held which explored issues relating to the adjudication of crimes against cultural heritage, with a focus on the ICTY’s pioneering work in clarifying the applicable law and bringing these crimes to justice. The panellists also discussed lessons to be learned for both the prevention of crimes against cultural heritage and adequate judicial responses to the commission of such crimes.

The panel included Ms Marina Lostal, lecturer in international criminal law at The Hague University of Applied Sciences; Ms Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General of Europa Nostra – an association for the safeguarding of Europe’s cultural heritage; and Ms Laurel Baig, Senior Appeals Counsel in the Office of the Prosecutor of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals. Speaking about the relevance of the Tribunal’s legacy, Ms Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović said: “I think it is very very important that the extraordinary work, the painstaking work of the ICTY, has to go out of the walls of that building here in The Hague. The story has to be told to a much wider public.

Dubrovnik and Crimes against Cultural Heritage is the sixth in a series of documentary films produced by the ICTY’s Outreach Programme, as part of its efforts to bring the work and achievements of the Tribunal closer to audiences in the former Yugoslavia and around the world. The documentary is available online in English and in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian. To obtain a free copy of the DVD, please send an e-mail to outreach [at] icty.org. The complete series of Outreach-produced documentaries can be viewed on the Tribunal’s website.

The Outreach Programme is generously supported by the European Union.