A group of 40 students of the master programme “Conflict, Memory and Peace” from the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt visited the Nuremberg Academy on 16 December 2023. The purpose of the visit was to understand how cultural property is protected in armed conflict and to learn which violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) are subject to individual criminal responsibility under international criminal law (ICL).
In this regard, Project Officer Dr Pablo Gavira Díaz briefly presented the role and work of the Academy as well as its connection to the Nuremberg Trials that were held between 1945 and 1949. This was followed by a general introduction to the legal framework that regulates the international protection of cultural property, namely the instruments in force that are applicable in armed conflict, which form the core of an efficient system of protection.
In addition, the group of students learned the role of ICL when the rules of IHL applicable to cultural property are violated by individual perpetrators. The jurisprudence of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia decisively influenced relevant provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which criminalises intentional attacks on protected institutions in both international and non-international armed conflicts. On this note, Dr Gavira Díaz emphasised that the ICC could also prosecute individuals for attacks against cultural objects, either in peacetime or wartime, under the heading of crimes against humanity, although a few necessary elements need to come into play.
The visit of the group represented the last station of an intensive one-day programme, which previously led them to the Nazi Rally Grounds and the Memorium Nuremberg Trials. The visitors were accompanied by Senior Officer of the Nuremberg Academy Dr Gurgen Petrossian, who is responsible for directing the seminar “International Law”. This is included within a specific module of the master programme dedicated to “Public International Law: Sources, Principles and Current Developments”. (pg)