UN: Destroying Syria’s cultural heritage may constitute war crime


The U.N. Security Council on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the unlawful destruction of cultural heritage stating that attacks perpetrated on heritage sites by combatant groups may constitute war crimes.

The resolution expands previous measures limited to the illegal trafficking of looted cultural items in order to fund terrorism.

It calls for the prosecution of those responsible for attacks against historic monuments and sites, and buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes as well as those who carry out illegal excavations, loot and traffic in stolen goods.

In addition to the wanton destruction inflicted on heritage sites such as the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria by the extremist group, and combatant forces, and criminal gangs, have also sought massive profits through the illicit smuggling of antiques and ancient artefacts.

It has become part of the global illicit black market trade, which includes moving drugs, people, and cultural artefacts.

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