A Bridge Too Far? Attacks against Cultural Property used as Military Objectives as War Crimes: The Prlić et al. case and the Mostar Bridge

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Abstract

The destruction of the cultural property in conflict zones around the world has captured international attention on the need to prevent its destruction and prosecute those responsible. This article examines the current legal protection and international criminal framework on the criminalisation of the destruction of cultural property and in particular the exception to such destruction amounting to a war crime where they have become military objectives. This article discusses the recent decision in the Prlić et al case involving the Mostar bridge, in light of its being justified to be attacked as a military objective. This article argues that considerations of proportionality are still required in such circumstances. This is vital to minimise the cost to communities and peoples whose cultural identity is bound up with such cultural objects. The article also suggests that the perfidious use of cultural property by parties to a conflict should be criminalised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-250
Number of pages37
JournalInternational Criminal Law Review
Volume20
Issue number2
Early online date30 Mar 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • cultural property
  • International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (icty)
  • military necessity
  • military objective
  • proportionality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law

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