April 25, 2024, 14:45

The ICC is Ukraine’s sole recourse for holding russia accountable for cultural heritage destruction crimes, – lawyer

Ukraine could seek justice against russia for the destruction of its cultural heritage and seek compensation for the damages incurred through the International Criminal Court’s mechanisms. 

Daryna Pidhorna, a lawyer at the Regional Center for Human Rights shared her views during a discussion at the Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform.

“In my view, the sole institution capable of potentially aiding in the restoration of justice to Ukraine’s cultural property, heritage, history, and identity is the International Criminal Court. In 2021, the ICC established a policy concerning the safeguarding of cultural heritage amid the four most egregious ongoing crimes: genocide, aggression, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Essentially, the International Criminal Court stands as the primary entity capable of prosecuting perpetrators and seeking compensation for their actions within its mechanisms,” she elaborated.

Daryna Pidhorna pointed out that a similar precedent already exists, citing the case of the destruction of Mali’s mausoleums, which resulted in reparations. She highlighted this as a successful example showcasing the capacity of international justice to hold perpetrators accountable and secure compensation for victims. 

Pidhorna stressed the importance for Ukraine to learn from and apply such experiences to its own history.

“We have a significant opportunity to bring a case to the Criminal Court regarding the same crime against humanity or war crime related to the destruction of cultural heritage. This could involve incidents such as the destruction of Tauric Chersonese or the Mariupol Drama Theater, resulting in casualties. It’s achievable, it’s doable. The key requirement is political will; there needs to be a clear impetus for law enforcement agencies to initiate and formulate such cases and provide the necessary data,” she emphasized.

Additionally, the lawyer highlighted that the Regional Center for Human Rights has already forwarded a report to the ICC regarding illegal archaeological digs and the heritage destruction in Crimea. The report cited six cultural heritage locations, including Tauric Chersonese. There are plans underway to submit another report today.

Read more: https://mediacenter.org.ua/news