Heritage Destruction, Human Rights and International Law

This book brings together prominent scholars in the fields of international cultural heritage law and heritage studies to scrutinise the various branches of international law and governance dealing with heritage destruction from human rights perspectives, both in times of armed conflict as well as in peace. Importantly, it also examines cases of heritage destruction that may not be intentional, but rather the consequence of large-scale infrastructural development or resource extraction. Chapters deal with high profile cases from Europe, North Africa, The Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, with a substantial afterword on heritage destruction in Ukraine.

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Amy Strecker is Associate Professor of Law at University College Dublin. She is the author of several publications on the role of international law in heritage and landscape governance, including her monograph, Landscape Protection in International Law (OUP, 2018).

Joseph Powderly is Associate Professor of Public International Law at Leiden University. He is the author of Judges and the Making of International Criminal Law (Brill/Nijhoff 2020) and numerous articles and chapters in the field of international law.

Notes on Contributors

  Amy Strecker and Joseph Powderly

1 Is International Law Ready for the Recognition of a General Obligation to Prevent and Avoid Destruction of Cultural Heritage?

  Francesco Francioni

2 The Genealogy of ‘Universality’ within Cultural Heritage Law

  Sophie Starrenburg

3 Grave Crimes

Conservation, Conflict and Criminality in Timbuktu

  Lynn Meskell

4 Heritage Destruction as a Collective Harm
Challenges and Pitfalls of International Cultural Justice

  Andrzej Jakubowski

5 Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage
Sentencing and Reparations

  Ana Filipa Vrdoljak

6 Responding to the Destruction of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Situations of Armed Conflict
What International Law to Apply?

  Janet Blake

7 Toward a Human Rights-Based Approach as an Element in Post-conflict Cultural Heritage Reconstruction

  Patty Gerstenblith

8 Cultural Heritage Losses in Peacetime
Challenges and Lingering Questions

  Alessandro Chechi

9 Balancing Economic Interests with Cultural Preservation in Development Contexts
Insight into the Meaning of “Imperatives of Development”

  Berenika Drazewska

10 The Right to Participate in Cultural Life and Heritage Destruction
Panacea or Part of the Problem?

  Lucas Lixinski

11 The Destruction of Indigenous Peoples’ Heritage and International Law

  Federico Lenzerini

12 Environmental Principles and Heritage in Australia
A First Nations Focus

  Ben Boer

13 Beyond Sovereignty.

Tara, the M3, and Access to Justice for Cultural Landscape Destruction in Ireland

  Amy Strecker and Conor Newman

14 Virtual Enclosure, Spatial Injustice and Heritage Destruction in the Caribbean
The Case of Camerhogne Park, Grenada

  Amanda Byer

15 The Notion of ‘Heritage Title’ for Contested Cultural Objects

  Evelien Campfens

Heritage Destruction and the War on Ukraine

  Joseph Powderly and Amy Strecker


Anyone interested in cultural heritage protection and destruction, including academics, teachers, students, researchers, and practitioners from law and heritage-related fields such as archaeology, anthropology and cultural geography.
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