Francesca Sironi De Gregorio
International law expressed since the early times a great concern for the preservation of cultural heritage in conflict scenarios, including effective tools to prosecute the most responsible The necessity to protect cultural heritage sites during armed conflicts and accountability for the perpetrators of crimes against cultural heritage led to the development of a strong legal framework.
An analysis of the legal framework governing the international war crime of intentional destruction of cultural heritage of humankind (IDCHH) in first of all fundamental to assess the actual level of protection accorded to destruction of cultural heritage by international criminal law. To reach the goal, after a necessary preliminary but accurate examination of the customary international provisions governing the phenomenon in wartime and the most relevant international humanitarian law norms, the study case law of international criminal tribunals on point provides a fundamental understanding of the similarities and differences in the approach taken by different institutions and the way forward. The aim is to identify some of the major drawbacks of the current framework, including the lack in the Rome Statute of a difference between cultural property in general and cultural heritage of humankind, and the military necessity exception, both elements that might potentially endanger the primary objective of international criminal law itself: the avoidance of impunity.