Encroachment on Cultural Values in the Occupied Territories of Ukraine in the Context of International Crimes

Keywords: cultural property, war crimes, encroachment on cultural property, armed conflict, International Criminal Court


The article examines the essence and nature of war crimes through the prism of encroachments on cultural property in the context of the conflict in eastern Ukraine and illegal actions on the Crimean peninsula. The state of protection of cultural property in the occupied territories, the main problems of prosecution for export, damage, destruction of cultural property in the conditions of military conflict are considered. It is analyzed that the issue of protection of cultural values is currently on the table, but Ukrainian domestic science does not contain research on the process of bringing perpetrators to justice. The article highlights the main decisions of the International Criminal Court in cases of encroachment on cultural property during the armed conflict, the decisions of tribunals, analyzes their main aspects that may be useful for Ukraine. It is established that the case law of tribunals and the International Criminal Court is heterogeneous; there is no established and clearly defined list of criteria for determining the grounds for bringing perpetrators to justice, the degree and form of their guilt. There is a heterogeneous understanding of the object of the encroachment and the form of guilt, which can lead to the impossibility of bringing the perpetrators to justice. From the analysis of the essence of war crimes, it was concluded that the relevant acts may be qualified under Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, as well as Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as war crimes. The composition of a war crime under the Rome Statute has also been studied, and possible obstacles to Ukraine’s future trials within the framework of the International Criminal Court have been outlined. The situation with the Bakhchisaray Palace in Crimea is highlighted as an object on which trilateral negotiations have already been initiated, which has the prospect of filing lawsuits in international courts. At present, Ukraine’s actions are aimed only at condemning the international community against the enemy for his illegal actions with cultural property, but the issue of initiating legal proceedings remains open.


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Criminal Law; Criminology; Criminal Executive Law