Miscategorisation of the Old Bridge of Mostar in the Prlic et al case

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The destruction of the Old Bridge of Mostar has attracted more publicity than the destruction of any other bridge in the history of humankind. The purpose of this article is to provide insight into the visibility of the Old Bridge as an object of cultural property in the Prlić et al Trial Judgment and to determine whether it was treated adequately by the Trial Chamber. The question of the prominence of the Old Bridge of Mostar before the ICTY warrants particular attention in light of an ever-growing recognition of the importance of preservation of cultural property for future generations. Given the extent of the destruction of cultural property in the ongoing Syrian and Iraqi conflicts and the possible prosecution of cultural property-related crimes, observations in this article of lessons-learned are timely and instructive. Importantly, this article is useful to indentify the Old Bridge’s treatment before the Tribunal in the trial phase in order to better understand the attention given to the Old Bridge in the anticipated Appeal Judgment in the Prlić case.
The article commences with a brief historic overview of the Old Bridge case. It then focuses on the treatment of the Old Bridge before the ICTY, where it first outlines cultural property-related crimes in the ICTY Statute, then considers the degree of importance given to the Bridge by the Prlić Indictment and finally, examines the prominence of the Bridge in the Prlić et al Trial Judgment. The article concludes that despite the number of paragraphs of the Trial Judgment that are dedicated to the Old Bridge, this bridge has not been treated adequately as an object of cultural property by the ICTY in the Prlić trial phase. The failure to properly categorise the nature of the Old Bridge immensely undermines its significance as an object of cultural property and impacts upon a conviction of those found responsible for its destruction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of the Philosophy of International Law
Issue number1/2
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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