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A regular online roundtable where experts from different perspectives discuss a pressing issue in international criminal justice.

Note: Analysis and commentary in Arguendo represent the views of the authors. It has not been approved by the House of Delegates or the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association and, accordingly, should not be construed as representing the position of the Association or any of its entities.

Arguendo Main

What is the significance of the ICC’s war crime charges of attacks on cultural property in Mali?

In the coming months, judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) will try Mr. Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, a leading member of an extremist militant Islamist group, for war crime charges of attacking cultural property. The charges brought by the Prosecution stem from allegations that Mr. al-Mahdi organized a campaign to destroy historic monuments and buildings dedicated to religion in Timbuktu and elsewhere in Mali. This is the ICC’s most significant case concerning the destruction of cultural property given that Mr. Al-Mahdi is solely charged with these cultural property crimes. What is the significance of the ICC pursuing such war crimes cases, particularly in the context of similar crimes occurring elsewhere in the world? Can this ICC case have a deterrent effect on others who have engaged or plan to engage in destroying cultural property?  Can this ICC case, or the work of the Court more broadly in this regard encourage states to adopt and implement appropriate measures to protect against the deliberate destruction of cultural property?

Honorable Irina Bokova

Ending Impunity for War Crimes on Cultural Heritage: The Mali Case

Honorable Kevin Rudd

Protecting our Global Culture

HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal

Promoting Intercultural Dialogue through Safeguarding Cultural Heritage

Sam Sasan Shoamanesh

and Gilles Dutertre

The ICC and Cultural Property: Reinforced Legal Enforcement of the Protection of Cultural Property in Armed Conflict

Honorable Cynthia P Schneider

Why Culture Matters