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Pagina principale arrow newsitems arrow CoE-UNESCO-ICC Officials to EF: Cultural Heritage Property new Treaty to Fil Gap + Fight ISIL Terror

CoE-UNESCO-ICC Officials to EF: Cultural Heritage Property new Treaty to Fil Gap + Fight ISIL Terror

Scritto da ACM
Friday, 13 January 2017

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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- A New PanEuropean/International Legal Tool for the Protection of Cultural Heritage is due to Fill serious Gaps on Safeguarding People's Historic Identity and World's Treasures, but also to Help Fight against ISIS a.o. Terrorists, stressed several Top CoE, UNESCO, ICC and other Top Officials, speaking to "Eurofora", on the occasion of an International Conference organized in Strasbourg by Cyprus' Presidency of the CoE, in one of its most Popular Priorities among the Diplomatic Community, where Concrete Moves are Expected before it concludes at the End of May 2017.


- A main Gap, until Today, is that the re-Sellers and/or Final Buyers of a Stolen Good currently often Escape from any Criminal Responsibility, even if Public Authorities Find Proof of an illegal Traffick Network usurpating and selling valuable Cultural Heritage Objects, by merely Claiming that they Ignored that Fact.

 

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- But the New CoE's Convention intends to Criminalize also the Behavior of any re-Seller or Final Buyer (particularly Professional)who does Not show, at least, a "Due Diligence" in Examining the situation, (but behaves at least with "Gross Negligence"), before Accepting to Buy a Cultural Heritage Good which Might have been Stolen and/or Usurpated, pointed out, in substance,  the President-in-office of CoE's Committee of Ministers, Experienced Long-Time Foreign Minister of Cyprus, and former Top MEP in charge of Foreign Policy and Human Rights' matters in rthe Biggest EU Parliament's Group, that of ChristianDemocrats/EPP, Ioanis Kasulides, speaking to "Eurofora". Kasulides has already Discussed the Need of a Better Protection of Cultural Property, recently in New York and elsewhere, also inside the UNO.


+ What is really at Stake is even More Important, Today, because Recent Developments have revealed that Islamist Terrorist Organizations, such as ISIL's atrocious BeHeaders even of Innocent Civilian People, etc., are Often Gaining a lot of Money by Large-scale Desecration, Destruction and Looting of World Heritage and other Valuable Cultural Monuments, Sites and Objects, located in the Territories that they Invade and Occupy or Attack, as Minister Kasulides earlier observed, resulting in a New Kind of "Blood Money", as CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, an Experienced former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Norway, denounced Today, right from the Beginning of this PanEuropean Conference (i.e. Russia a.o. included), Open to the Participation also of any other Global Partner or Country in the World.

 

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F.ex., not only in Iraq's Mesopotamian area, (a notorious No 1 Pre-Historic Hotspot, among the Oldest in the World, to which succeeded some Grand Civilisations from Ancient Times), but also in Syria, etc., in Addition to the World Famous, UNESCO-Award, "Palmyra" Ancient City, Attacked Twice by ISIL's Destructive and Deadly Terrorists, it's also Many Thousands of various Other, Precious Cultural Heritage Goods, which were Looted and Sold, through Criminal Traffic Networks, by such Barbaric Islamist Terrorists, including a lot of those initialy located near the Northern Borders of Syria towards the Sourth of Turkey, from where they Transited before being able to Reach customers in Europe, Japan and/or the USA, etc., Strongly Denounced the embattled Director-General of Antiquities and Museums of Syria, Professor Dr. Maamoun Abdulkarim.

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 Trying to Limit such Brutal Destructions and Looting, the competent Syrian Authorities have often Collected and Transported Many valuable Historic Goods back to Damas, Dr. Abdulkarim said, but this is obviously Not Enough at all in order to Protect all the Historic Treasures existing in a Country which was a Crossroads of Phoenician, Persian, Greek, Roman, Buyzantine, and other various Civilisations, in an area where Both PolyTheistic and MonoTheistic Religions, such as Judaism, Christianism and Islam, etc, criss-crossed eachother, belonging to the History of Mankind. Moreover, the Refusal of several Foreign States to allow a Direct Cooperation between all competent and interested Actors with the current Syrian Government, has Complicated thinks, so that Most of those who can't do otherwise, at least for the Time being, are Often using to Help mainly by the Intermediary of UNESCO, (including not only Other State, and various Public or Private Actors, but even EU Commission itself, when it Funds some relevant Projects indirectly, as an EU Official observed, etc).   

  syrian_historic_artefacts_threatened_coe_eurofora_400   syrian_artefacts_400


But this obviously is Not Enough in order to seriously Protect the Most Valuable Cultural Heritage Sites, Monuments, Artifacts, Paintings, various Objects and other Goods, there and elsewhere in the World, from Looting, Abandoning, Damaging, Disfiguring, partialy or Totaly Destroying, by Criminal Thugs, Political Hostility, Cultural Genocide policies, and/or Extremist Islamist Terrorism, etc., as have shown also the Notorious Recent Examples of the Demolition of Giant "Budha" Statutes by Talibans in Afghanistan, the various Destructions imposed at Palmyra by ISIL's Terrorists, the quasi-Systematic Looting, Desecration, and/or Destruction of Ancient Greek/Byzantine and Particularly Christian Churches, Monuments and Religious Objects in the Occupied Territories of Cyprus controlled by  Ankara's Foreign Invasion and Occupation Army, including even the Incredible Incident of Many Precious Historic, mainly Byzantine Artifacts brutaly Thrown Down, Lost or Looted, and/or Broken by Armed islamist Terrorist Gangs in Northern Syria, near Turkey's Borders, reportedly, even when they Wanted to ...Steal the big Boxes in which they had been classified, as Dr. Abdulkarim Denounced.

 

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That's why CoE's New Convention aims to provide Efficient and Sufficient Legal Tools in order to Help Face all such "Threats to Cultural Property", including, mainly, the currently Growing Need to "Fight illicit Destruction, Excavation and Trafficking", as Official Documents note. "Offences ... are Growing" recently against "Cultural Property Belonging to Peoples", which "Constitutes a unique and important Testimony of the(ir) Culture and Identity", often "leading to the Destruction of the World's Cultural Heritage", and "involving" also "Organised Criminal Groups", even "Terrorist Organisations", in "Deliberate Destruction", "Trafficking" and "illicit Trade", the Draft Conention's Preambule notes.

 

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Significantly, UNESCO's Director-General, Irina Bokova, confirmed to "Eurofora" that she founds "very Important Today" the Issues at stake, just after Strongly Denouncing the Fact that the "War Crime" of "Destruction of Heritage", has Now "Become a Tactic of War and Propaganda, to Weaken Resolve, to Incite Hatred and Revenge", while also "Exploited to Finance Illicit Activities, through "Looting and Trafficking", which "is Criminal Offense".

 

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Among various such Examples, UNESCO has pointed also at that of Nimrud Archeological Site, in Iraq's Nineveh valley, which faced "Deliberate Destructin by ISIL"s Terrorists. Therefore, particularly nowadays, - "The Fight against Impunity is clearly one of the Issues that we Must Address", but "where our Legal Arsenal is the Weakest", until now, Bokova pointed out in her Keynote speech at CoE's Conference in Strasbourg this Morning.

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  But the competent, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, a former Minister of Justice from Gambia and UN Expert on International Law, Replying to an "Eurofora" Question, which Reminded also the Timely Call launched recently in Strasbourg, Both at the CoE and in EU Parliament, by the 2 Yazidi Girls, Kidnapped, EnSlaved, Raped and Abused by ISIL's Islamist Terrorists, to, at last, "End the ImPunity" of such AbHorrent Criminals, (a Call that even UNO's former Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, has Strongly Supported at a landmark Speech in EU Parliament in Brussels : See, f.ex. : ...), Regretted the Fact that ICC has Not yet a Direct Legal Competence on the Territories of Syria and Iraq, as long as these Countries are Not yet Court's Members. On the Contrary, at least in one area in Africa, we have already one Example of a former Gang Leader who was Arrested, Judged and Condemned for Destruction of Cultural Heritage, she observed earlier.  

 

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- However, We (ICC) can Intervene when "Foreign Fighters" f.ex. from European and/or Other Countries which have Signed and Ratifies the International Criminal Court's statute, are Crossing over here, after having actively Participated in ISIL's and/or Other Armed Gangs' Terrorist Crimes, she observed. In Addition, ICC might Also Take Action against Destruction and Looting of Cultural Heritage, when the Culprits are part of Trans-National Networks, f.ex. of Smugglers, which Extend also into Member Countries, she added. As far as Time-Limits are concerned, for the ICC to be Legaly Competent, the inscriminated Acts must have taken place After 2002, Bensouda reminded, But agreed with "Eurofora" that in Cases where, Even if the Initial, Main Crime might have Started in a more remote Past, neverheless, ICC could  be legaly seized when f.ex. there is a kind of "Continuing" Violations still taking place more Recently, perhaps even Nowadays and/or in the Future, by various Subsequent Acts which Exploit, Perpetuate, Extend, and/or Aggravate Further Nowadays a Crime of Destruction of Cultural Heritage, which has Started earlier.

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- CoE's Director-General on Legal affairs and Human Rights, Patrick Boillat, speaking to "Eurofora", pointed out that, while the New CoE's Convention is due to have an International Dimension by being Open also for Accession by All Countries in the World, even Out of Europe, i.e. located in any other Continent on Earth, nevertheless, an eventual Problem, at least for the Time being, for certain Countries as Syria, might be the Fact that, (as also for Many Other Conventions), CoE's Committee of Ministers must always Decide Unanimously to Accept to Invite a precise Country to become a New Treaty Member, or not, (so that even 1 CoE Member State's eventual Refusal risks to Block that possibility in a certain case).

However, generaly speaking, this New Draft Convention on "Offences relating to Cultrural Property", responds to Real Needs, particularly Today, of the PanEuropean and International Community, in order to "Complete" some pre-existing UNESCO and UNIDROIT Texts in certain Key Areas which still remain Unsettled, and should be Finalized, Adopted, and Start to be Implemented the Soonest possible, CoE's Legal/HR Director Boillat concluded, in his statements to "Eurofora".

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As for the Chairman of CoE's Committee which currently Drafts that New Convention, Hans-Holger Herrnfeld from Germany, speaking in fine to "Eurofora", he confirmed that, after This Week's Meeting of 9-12 January 2017, the Committee's Next Meeting "on February" is expected to make a serious Advance towards Protecting Cultural Property in a way which may also Help Curb some Criminal and/or Terrorist Networks, so that we could all Hope for the entire Legal Text to be Ready for a possible Opening to the Signature and Ratification by CoE's 47 Member Countries, as well as, eventually, Other, Third Countries from Other Continents in the World, at the forthcoming Plenary Session of the PanEuropean Organisation's Committee of Ministers, of End of May 2017, at Nicosia, Cyprus.

 

(../..)

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(NDLR : DraftNews, as already send to "Eurofora"s Donors and Subscribers, earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be published asap).

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Sarkozy and Merkel : June 2009 solution to May 2005 "NO" ?

 - Will French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angie Merkel live up from June 2009 to their obvious Historic European mission to revitalize, and re-launch the "European Dream", after the series of 3 "NO" since May 2005 in France, the Netherlands and Ireland, by renewing, and changing the EU with fresh stimulus, big horizons, and values attractive for EU Citizens ?

Whatever views anyone might have, it's a Fact that, recently, EU's political spectrum didn't produce other more charismatic and popular EU leaders than Merkel and Sarkozy, starting from September 2005 and May 2007, respectively.

This trend was confirmed, in one way or another, both during the German EU presidency in 2007 (shared by Merkel with the SPD), and mainly during the French EU Presidency in 2008, (with Sarkozy "free" to move).


The positive 2009 EU Polls are a natural consequence :

- Both with 72% Sarkozy and Merkel are considered by EU Citizens to be "the most Influential" leaders in Europe, by far.

- They are the only EU political leaders to attract a Majority of "Positive" views by EU Citizens, (Merkel over 60%, Sarkozy over 50%, particularly in the continent).

- 60% of EU Citizens find the 2008 French EU Presidency "Good", (and the satisfaction grows up to 67,5% in continental Europe).

The Poll was made by "OpinionWay" in big EU countries as Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, (with the only exception of France), from 26 to 28 May 2009.

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But the most important is that both Franco-German leaders seem willing to, at last, really start serious business on EU's indispensable renovation and Renaissance from 2009 : Year of crucial EU and German Elections.

Therefore, this time, the joint European move by Sarkozy and Merkel, which just published a common Franco-German Manifesto, aims to stimulate aspirations and action not only in their respective countries, but also in many other EU "partners", as they say.

Both on EU economy, social values and scientifico-technologic research, as well as on Turkey's controversial EU bid, obviously incompatible with a popular Political Europe, whose Citizens can find a collective Identity and popular Values, they have already started to magnetize various growing voices accross the European landscape :

"Today, more than ever, it' time for action", they stress from the outset.

Facing "an unprecedented Global financial and economic Crisis", "Europeans must get resolutely involved if they want for the World which is being built to meet their Values of Liberty, Solidarity and Justice".

"That's what we want" and "propose to our Partners" :

* "A strong Europe, able to protect us" :

- "We refuse a Bureaucratic EU, which mecanically applies burdensome rules and is afraid of change. We want a European Union which listens what Citizens have to say, which innovates, stimulates".

- "We want a strong and united EU in the World, while also respecting its Member States' Diversity", which "brings Courageous Replies to the Questions of our Times, ensuring our Prosperity :  

This implies to "favor Research and Innovation", "Economic Coordination", to "develop real Policies on Immigrationn, Energy, Defence, and modernise  common policies, particularly Agriculture".

*  "EU must bring immediate replies to the Global Crisis".

- "Lawless liberalism failed". "The Model we want is that of a Responsible Market Economy, which favors Enterpreneurs and Workers, above Speculators ;  Long-term Investment, over immediate profiits".

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- "We call to change the rules of accounts, which are important for our Economy's revival : The competent normative authorities must take action". "The issue of a sufficient Credit offer is of central importance for our Economy". "We don't accept that, during this Financial Crisis, the European Banks' capacity to lend money might be unjustly reduced by Capital's requirements and accountant's rules

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- "We have now to convince our Friends and Partners, to get involved, in order to atteint, next December at Copenhagen, a Global Agreement worthy of whay is at stake. Our closer ally, the US, but also other big industrial countries, must commit themselves with the same force as the Europeans".

"Green Growth is a Chance ... and an opportunity to create jobs turned towards the Future. Europe must be a leader".

- But, at the same time, we must ensure that our companies remain competitive in the World. The ambitious European involvements on Climat must not lead into a position where EU industry might become a Victim of Unfair Competition. Climat protection and Competitvity must go together. If our International partners refuse to associate themselves to our efforts, we are determined to take measures to protect European Industry"

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* Last, but not least :  "Europe must play a top-level role in the World"

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- "In order to be strong, Europe must assume its Values and its Identity". "Human Rights .. are at the basis of our commitment for a Peaceful Development accross the World".

- "For that purpose, we shall strengthen our common Defence and Security policy".
----------------------

* "We are ready to contribute to activate the EU towards the realisation of these aims, with our EU Partners".

"In order to succeed", Europe  "needs the active involvment of all, starting by Citizens themselves. That's why the June 7 rendez-vous is important", and "we are calling all Europeans to vote".

"We are convinced that, if Europe wants, Europe can", they conclude.
-----------------------

Precisely : - What can better forge "Europe's Will" than a "European Consciousness" emerging from political, democratic struggles to face Global Challenges, and open big New Horizons, including by crystal-clear Public Debates, with active EU Citizens' involvement, before the most important EU Decisions affecting People's lives ?

Precisely what "EuroFora"s project warns since 1997-2007, and unprecedented Majority Abstentions, since 1999-2004, added to 3 "NO" to EU Referenda in 2005 and 2007, proved meanwhile..

Let's hope that the Time wasted by some scandalous anti-European and anti-Democratic obstacles of the Past, will stimulate faster, simplified but substantial and persistent, efficient action.-

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