Discussion Interrupted: The Destruction and Protection of Cultural Property under International Law and Islamic Law - the Case of Prosecutor v. Al Mahdi

In: International Criminal Law Review
Mohamed Elewa BadarAssociate Professor/ Reader International Criminal Law and Islamic Law, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

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Noelle HigginsSenior Lecturer, Department of Law, Maynooth University, Ireland

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Al Mahdi was the first case before the International Criminal Court (icc), which focused on the destruction of cultural property, and indeed, the first case before an international criminal tribunal which had the destruction of cultural property as the sole charge against a jihadist. This case note first addresses the international legal framework on the protection of cultural property in Section 2. Section 3 then assesses the concept of hisbah and its operation, including the reasons why the Hisbah in Mali destroyed cultural property. The next section considers the facts of the Al Mahdi case. Section 5 highlights the shortfalls in the Trial Chamber’s consideration of the rationales for the protection and destruction of cultural property, before the note concludes in Section 6.

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