The Minister of Justice of Italy, Andrea Orlando, signed today with Deputy Secretary General Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni the new Council of Europe Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property (CETS No.221), known as the “Blood Antiquities” Convention.
The Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property aims to prevent and combat the illicit trafficking and destruction of cultural property, in the framework of the organisation’s action to fight terrorism and organised crime.
This treaty, open for signature to any country in the world, also aims to foster international co-operation to fight these crimes, which are destroying the world’s cultural heritage.
The Convention, which will be the only international treaty specifically dealing with the criminalisation of the illicit trafficking of cultural property, establishes a number of criminal offences, including theft, unlawful excavation, importation and exportation, and illegal acquisition and placing on the market. It also criminalises the falsification of documents and the destruction or damage of cultural property when committed intentionally.
“It is particularly important not only to protect historic sites and cultural property, but also to help dry up a source of financing of organised crime and terrorism”, declared Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni.
"On my return to Italy, I will highlight the opportunity to achieve ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property, if possible, by the end of the legislature", underlined the Minister of Justice Orlando.
Nine countries have signed the Convention : Armenia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Ukraine and Mexico.