This article deals with the contested status of two groups of cultural objects – a collection of priceless artworks, and fifteen church bells – originating from Istria, precisely from the present-day territory of the Slovenian and Croatian Littorals, and preserved in Italy since the turbulent, tragic times of the Second World War. It argues that the ownership title to such objects does not lie at the centre of the current controversy between Slovenia (and potentially Croatia) and Italy. Instead, it seems that the fundamental issue in this regard refers to the recognition and realization of cultural community rights to such heritage, affected by political, territorial and ethnic transformations. This article discusses various international legal regimes that might be applicable in this case of Istria’s contested cultural heritage, with special focus on the enhancement of cultural human rights and international cultural cooperation. It also touches upon the concept of procedural justice, built on the principles of participation, voice and transparency, which are perceived as crucial in negotiating and managing cultural heritage matters and controversies.
Francesca Fiorentini and Andrzej Jakubowski
A Critical Inquiry into Law and Policy
Edited by Andrzej Jakubowski, Kristin Hausler and Francesca Fiorentini
Church Bells in Eastern Europe and the Balkans
Andrzej Jakubowski, Francesca Fiorentini and Ewa Manikowska
For centuries church bells have constituted an inherent element of religious and social life. Due to their artistic and pecuniary value, the bells have also been subjected to forced removal and/or pillage. This article discusses the role of church bells as vehicles of the collective memory and cultural identity of selected ethnic and religious communities in Europe which were deeply affected by the post-World War ii territorial arrangements: namely, the Italian, Slovenian and Croatian communities of Istria and Ukrainians re-settled from Poland. Against the background of these cases it explores the clashes within various layers of international law dealing with culture and cultural heritage: humanitarian law, state succession, protection of the integrity of cultural heritage sites, and human rights. Viewed through such a lens, some suggestions are offered on how to overcome these conflicts in order to enforce the cultural rights of communities and protect their right to enjoy their material and spiritual heritage.