Kulturarvets skydd i väpnade konflikter. Kulturarvsbrott vid ICTY
Protection of Cultural Property in Armed Conflicts –
Crimes against cultural property at ICTY
This graduation thesis aims to give a survey of how cultural property is protected within international law and how these protections worked during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and later at the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY. Cultural heritage is important symbols for ethnicity, religion or political views. Because of this cultural property has been targeted in armed conflicts as long as can be remembered. The protection of cultural property within international law has developed from the midst of the 19th century up til today and is still developing towards stronger protection. One of the latest armed conflicts where the cultural property became targeted was the wars in Yugoslavia in the 1990’s. 1993 ICTY was founded to prosecute those responsible for war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia since 1991. Among those crimes are crimes against cultural property as a crime against the laws or customs of war, or as a crime against humanity. This thesis deals especially with three cases form ICTY, one concerning destruction of mosques in the Lašva valley in Bosnia-Herzegovina and two concerning the bombardments against the town Dubrovnik in Croatia. The thesis concludes that the mosques in the Lašva valley was targeted because they were part of the cultural heritage of the Muslims, and the Old town of Dubrovnik was targeted despite the fact that it was part of the cultural heritage of the Croats. ICTY refers to the wide range of international treaties concerning the protection of cultural property in armed conflicts. Because of the long development of treaties the tribunal is able to convict crimes against cultural property as a crime against the laws or customs of war. The final responsibility for the protection of cultural property lies with the operational groups who refrain from attacking cultural property.