A multistakeholder approach to the Council of Europe Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property provisions

Riga, Republic of Latvia - 15-16 June 2023

The current situation in Ukraine, where cultural heritage has been deliberately targeted and looted artefacts may be illegally exported, unfortunately brings a renewed interest on protecting cultural heritage from damage and/or destruction. That situation highlights the relevance of Council of Europe's Convention on Offences related to Cultural Property, known as the Nicosia Convention, in the responses to the offences relating to cultural property in conflict and post conflict situations.

As a criminal-law treaty, the Nicosia Convention is the only legally binding instrument aimed at preventing and combating such crimes by strengthening criminal justice responses and, at the same time, fostering international cooperation. Opened for signature in 2017, the Nicosia Convention entered into force on 1 April 2022 and counts today with six Parties and another seven are signatories.

As one of these Parties, Latvia attaches great importance to the protection of cultural heritage and the prevention of illicit trafficking, damage, and destruction of cultural property. At the occasion of the Latvian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, an international conference on the adequate criminal justice response to these phenomena was organised in Riga on the 15th and 16th June 2023. (more...)

Presentations and videos

Special words



  • The importance of criminal response to crimes against cultural property
    Dr Carlos ROMEO CASABONA, Professor in Criminal Law, Director of the Inter-University Chair in Law and the Human Genome, University of Deusto and University of Basque Country (+ speech)
  • Amendments to the Latvian legislation to implement the Nicosia Convention
    Mr Uldis ZARIŅŠ, Deputy State Secretary for Cultural Policy of the Ministry of Culture
    Ms Rebeka LAVENIECE, Lawyer of the Criminal Justice department of the Ministry of Justice
  • Investigation of criminal offenses related to cultural objects in Latvia (statistics, issues, current affairs)
    Mr Martins JURJĀNS, Acting Prosecutor of the Zemgale Judicial Region Prosecution Office
  • The financing of terrorism through cultural property
    Ms Ruth GARCÍA ÁLVAREZ, Historic Heritage Brigade, National Police, Spain (+ speech)
  • Damage to property as a result of criminal acts
    Dr Kristian SCHNEIDER, Vice President, European Confederation of Conservator-Restorers Organisations, ECCO
  • Innovation and technology with artificial intelligence to explore the web in search of stolen works of art – the S.W.O.A.D.S. project
    Mr Salvatore RAPICAVOLI, Major Dr at the Comando Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale, Italy


  • Countering the erasure of cultural identity in war and peace, the specific case of looting and expropriating of cultural property in Ukraine
    Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK, MP from Ukraine and Chairperson of the Committee on culture, science, education and media of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)
  • The Nicosia Convention and the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Ukraine in times of war / 2023
    Ms Kateryna CHUYEVA, Deputy Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine 
  • Ukraine and illicit trafficking in cultural property
    Mr Fedir ANDROSHCHUK, Director General of the National Museum of the History of Ukraine
  • Policy on Cultural heritage of the Office of the Prosecutor
    Ms Paola SACCHI, Lawyer, International Criminal Court-Office of the Prosecutor
  • Register of damage caused by the aggression against Ukraine under the auspices of the Council of Europe
    Mr Pavlo PUSHKAR, Head of Division - Department for the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights
  • Heritage for Peace initiatives in countries under conflict
    Mr Isber SABRINE, President of Heritage for Peace association


  • The fight against offences relating to Cultural Property: Council of Europe gap analysis report
    Dr Cristina GUISASOLA, Professor of criminal law, University of Valencia (+ speech)
  • Work of Department for Circulation of Culture Goods within the National Heritage Board of Latvia
    Mr Mārcis KALNIŅŠ, expert – archaeologist, Department of Circulations of Cultural Goods of the National Heritage Board of Latvia
  • Forensic work in legal proceedings on archaeological looting
    Mr Maurizio PELLEGRINI, former director archaeologists at the Superintendence of Southern Etruria and at the Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia in Rome, Ministry of Culture, Italy (+ speech)
    Ms Daniela RIZZO, officer at the Superintendence of Southern Etruria and at the Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia in Rome, Ministry of Culture, Italy
  • The return of antiquities to their countries of origin – the case of Cyprus
    Dr Marina SOLOMIDOU-IERONYMIDOU, Director of the Department of Antiquities of the Republic of Cyprus, Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works
  • Addressing the increasingly organised and criminal nature of offences in cultural goods through technological innovation
    Dr Arianna TRAVIGLIA, Director of the Centre for Cultural Heritage Technology (CCHT), Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) (+ speech)
  • Good practices on illicit trafficking and restitution in Italy
    Ms Maria LUPRANO, Ministry of Culture, Italy 


  • European Union Action plan against trafficking in cultural goods
    Ms Angela BARDENHEWER-RATING, Senior Legal Officer, Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, Organised Crime and Drugs, European Commission (EU)
  • The UNESCO 1970 Convention: promoting international cooperation in the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property
    Ms Sunna ALTNODER, Chief of the Movable Heritage and Museums Unit at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
  • International cooperation in the field of restitution and return – the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention
    Ms Marina SCHNEIDER, Principal Legal Officer & Treaties Depositary, the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT)
  • Heritage Crime Task Force
    Mr Cameron WALTER, Customs Adviser and Program Manager, Transnational Threats Department, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) (+ speech)
  • Actions of the Cyprus Police for Combating Illicit Procession and Trafficking of Antiquities
    Mr Michalis GAVRIELIDES, Cyprus Police - Chief Inspector - Head of the Office for Combating Illicit Possession and Trafficking of Antiquities (video)
  • INTERPOL Works of Art Unit
    Mr Gonzalo GIORDANO, Coordinator, Works of Art Unit, Criminal Networks Sub-Directorate, International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL)


Photo: Indriķis Strautmanis