JPIL Vol 8 Issue 1/2 2017 - Article 1

MISCATEGORISATION OF THE OLD BRIDGE OF MOSTAR IN THE PRLIĆ ET AL CASE
Jadranka Petrovic
Abstract
The 1993 destruction of the Old Bridge in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 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 before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) 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. . After a brief historic overview of the Old Bridge case, the article focuses on the treatment of the Old Bridge before the ICTY. It starts with outlining cultural property-related crimes in the ICTY Statute and then considers the standing of the Bridge first in the Prlić Indictment and then in the Prlić Trial Judgment. The article concludes that the Old Bridge was not adequately contextualised within the paradigm 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.

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