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ABA's ICC Project & Stanford Law release latest online roundtable, Arguendo, on the protection of cultural property and accountability

The ABA’s ICC Project releases its most recent Arguendo, addressing the significance of ICC prosecution of cultural destruction in Mali.

Washington D.C., June 22, 2016 - The American Bar Association’s International Criminal Court (ICC) Project and Stanford Law School Program in International and Comparative Law are pleased to announce the release of their latest online roundtable, Arguendo, with an eminent panel of experts discussing the significance of the ICC’s war crime charges of attacks on cultural property in Mali. The ICC’s case against extremist Mr. Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi for alleged attacks on the World Heritage site of Timbuktu in Mali and other artifacts of cultural heritage is a milestone for the Court: the first trial to focus on alleged cultural destruction, as well as the first case to include a guilty plea, as Mr. al-Mahdi will reportedly enter in the near future.

To discuss this emerging facet of international criminal justice, this Arguendo roundtable features contributions from six distinguished experts: ‪‎UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova; former ‎US Ambassador to the Netherlands and Georgetown Diplomacy Professor, Honorable Cynthia Schneider; former Prime Minister of Australia and President of Asia Society Policy Institute, Honorable Kevin Rudd; His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan; and Sam Sasan Shoamanesh and Gilles Dutertre of the ICC Office of the Prosecutor.

In her article, Director-General Bokova discusses the legal validity of prosecuting cultural destruction as a war crime and the resulting collaboration between UNESCO and the ICC. Ambassador Schneider explores the importance of protecting the unique identity of Timbuktu through the restoration of cultural heritage. Prime Minister Rudd argues for the need to increase coordination and collaboration between international actors, including states, law enforcement, and museums, in the fight to protect global culture and history. His Royal Highness Prince Bin Talal emphasizes the role that cultural appreciation has in fostering inclusive dialogue. Senior Special Assistant to the Prosecutor Sam Sasan Shoamanesh and Senior Trial Attorney Gilles Dutertre stress the importance of accountability mechanisms, in particular, the ICC to the protection of cultural property.

We encourage you to visit this latest Arguendo, and please comment with your ideas and responses.

The American Bar Association’s (ABA) International Criminal Court (ICC) Project is an independent initiative of the ABA Center for Human Rights that advances international criminal justice and US-ICC relations through advocacy, education and practical legal assistance. More information about the ABA’s ICC Project can be found at itswebsite.