Ana Filipa Vrdoljak is the author of International Law, Museums and the Return of Cultural Objects (Cambridge University Press, 2006 and 2008) and editor of Oxford Handbook on International Cultural Heritage Law with Francesco Francioni (forthcoming, Oxford University Press), The Cultural Dimension of Human Rights (Oxford University Press, 2013) and International Law for Common Goods: Normative Perspectives in Human Rights, Culture and Nature with Federico Lenzerini (Hart Publishing, 2014). She is completing a European Union funded book project entitled Law and Cultural Heritage in Europe.
Professor Vrdoljak is a General Editor, with Francesco Francioni, of the Oxford Commentaries on International Cultural Heritage Law (Oxford University Press) and book series entitled Cultural Heritage Law and Policy (Oxford University Press) and member of the Advisory Board, International Journal of Cultural Property (Cambridge University Press). She is Secretary of the International Cultural Property Society (U.S.). She has been Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow, Marie Curie Fellow and Jean Monnet Fellow, Law Department European University Institute, Florence, and visiting scholar at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge and Global Law School, New York University. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy (in Law) from the University of Sydney.
Can supervise: YES
- Cultural Heritage Law
- Public International Law
- International Human Rights Law
- International Humanitarian Law
- History and Theory of International Law
- Public International Law (70108)
- International Law and Cultural Heritage (76108)
- History and Theory of International Law (76109)
Vrdoljak, A 2006, International Law, Museums and the Return of Cultural Objects, 1, Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom.
Vrdoljak, A 2018, 'Introductory Note to Prosecutor v Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi: Judgment and Sentence and Reparations Order (International Criminal Court)', International Legal Materials, vol. 57, no. 1, pp. 17-79.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
On September 27, 2016, Trial Chamber VIII of the International Criminal Comt (ICC or Court) delivered its Judgment and Sentence in the case of The Prosecutor v. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi. On August 17, 2017, it rendered the Reparations Order in this case. 2 The Court for the first time found a defendant responsible for intentionally attacking protected cultural and religious sites, while relying on specialized treaties for the protection of cultural heritage. It is also the first time that an international criminal court, while drawing on international human rights law, has delivered an order for reparations pertaining to this international crime. The tension between the Court's Judgment and Sentence and its Reparations Order highlights that these two areas of international law, international cultural heritage law and international human rights law, remain unaligned.
Indigenous peoples' emphasis on protecting their cultural heritage (including land) through a human rights-based approach reveals the synergies and conflicts between the World Heritage Convention and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). This article focuses on how their insistence on the right to participate effectively in decision-making and centrality of free, prior, and informed consent as defined in the UNDRIP exposes the limitations of existing United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and World Heritage Convention processes effecting Indigenous peoples, cultures, and territories and how these shortcomings can be addressed. By tracking the evolution of the UNDRIP and the World Heritage Convention from their drafting and adoption to their implementation, it examines how the realization of Indigenous peoples' right to self-determination concerning cultural heritage is challenging international law to become more internally consistent in its interpretation and application and international organizations to operate in accordance with their constitutive instruments.
Vrdoljak, A 2011, 'Genocide and Restitution: Ensuring Each Group's Contribution to Humanity', The European Journal of International Law, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 17-47.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The protection of minorities in modern international law is intimately connected with and fuelled the recognition of the crimes of persecution and genocide. Minority protection represented the proactive component of the international efforts to ensure the contribution of certain groups to the cultural heritage of humankind. Prohibition and prosecution of persecution and genocide represented the reactive element of these same efforts. The restitution of cultural property to persecuted groups by the international community was recognition that their ownership and control of these physical manifestations was necessary for the realization of this purpose. In this article, I consider the emergence, contraction, and revival of the interconnection between minority protection, the prevention and punishment of genocide, and the protection and restitution of cultural heritage over the last century-long development of international law. It is argued that the central aim driving and interweaving these initiatives is the effort to ensure the continuing contribution of each group to the cultural heritage of all humanity.
Vrdoljak, A 2009, 'Human Rights and Genocide: The Work of Lauterpacht and Lemkin in Modern International Law', The European Journal of International Law, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 1163-1194.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
2008 marked the sixtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Genocide Convention and Uni versal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly. These two instruments adopted and proclaimed by the then newly formed world body on successive days, 9 and 10 December 1948 respectively, represent two sides of one coin. Born of the horrors of the 1930s and 1940s, the United Nations Charter speaks of human rights and to the import ance of the rule of law. The Genocide Convention and UDHR are integral to the pursuit of these aims. The work of two international lawyers, Hersch Lauterpacht and Raphael Lemkin, whose personal and familial histories traverse the tragedies of 20th century Europe, was instrumental in the realization of these twin efforts. This article examines their respective contributions to contemporary international law by concentrating on their European experi ence from their youth in Central Europe and the early days of the League of Nations to their mature work up to and including the Nuremberg Judgment.
Vrdoljak, A 2008, 'How to choose a judge', Economist, vol. 389, no. 8609.
Vrdoljak, AF 2018, 'Indigenous peoples, intangible cultural heritage and participation in the United Nations' in Antons, C & Logan, W (eds), Intellectual Property, Cultural Property and Intangible Cultural Heritage, Routledge, Oxford, pp. 50-66.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
While there is growing international and regional promotion of cultural diversity
and acknowledgment of the importance of cultural heritage to the maintenance
and development of individual and collective identities, the capacity of groups
This is because international law (and international society) remains dominated
age. This chapter focuses on indigenous peoples’ efforts to participate in United
Nations initiatives for the protection and promotion of intangible cultural heritage
to explore the participation by non-state actors and the responses of key
Organization (UNESCO), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and
UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
Despite the dominance of the state in the protection of cultural heritage in
international law, multilateral organizations have, in recent years, repeatedly reaf-
mon heritage of all mankind’ (Art. I(3) 1966 UNESCO Principles). At the same
time and within the same instruments, the international community has explicitly
linked cultural diversity and human rights norms (Art. 1 Universal Declaration
on Cultural Diversity). The links between human rights law and cultural heritage
have been most overtly explored at the international level in respect of Article
15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
(ICESCR, United Nati...
Vrdoljak, AF 2017, 'Cultural Heritage, Human Rights and the Privatisation of War' in Durbach, A & Lixinski, L (eds), Heritage, Culture and Rights: Challenging Legal Discourses, Hart Publishing, Oxford, pp. 61-89.
Hugo Grotius in De jure belli ac pacis (1625) observed that under the law of nations
an enemy ’ s property, even if it was ‘ sacred, that is, things dedicated to God or to the
gods ’ , could be destroyed and pillaged during war. 1 He quotes the words of Cicero
in support: ‘ Victory has made profane the sacred things ’ . One rationale for this
interpretation of the law was that it would demoralise the enemy and hasten their
surrender. This sentiment was reiterated by Emmerich de Vattel in his Le droit des
gens ou principes de la loi naturelle (1758) but with an important proviso. He wrote:
‘ For whatever cause a country be devastated, those buildings should be spared
which are an honour to the human race and which do not add to the strength of
the enemy’ . 2 This changing outlook was crystallised in nineteenth century efforts
to humanise the laws of war through codifi cation. By the time of the Nuremberg
trials in the mid-twentieth century, the prohibition against the destruction and
pillaging of cultural (and religious) property during armed confl ict and belligerent
occupation was found to be customary international law, binding on all states.
These developments in turn informed subsequent specialist treaties on the protection
of cultural heritage and human rights. However, the early twenty-fi rst century
has brought changes to how war and occupation is conducted; changes which have
exposed the limitations of existing human rights and humanitarian law norms.
Vrdoljak, AF 2017, 'The criminalisation of the Illicit trade in cultural property' in Geismar, H & Anderson, J (eds), The Routledge Companion to Cultural Property, Routledge, London, pp. 54-69.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
In August 2014, the UN Security Council condemned the gross, systematic and widespread
violation of international humanitarian and human rights law by various armed groups in
Syria and Iraq including:
[I]ndiscriminate killing and deliberate targeting of civilians, numerous atrocities,
mass executions and extrajudicial killings, including of soldiers, persecution of individuals
and entire communities on the basis of their religion or belief, kidnapping of
civilians, forced displacement of members of minority groups, killing and maiming
of children, recruitment and use of children, rape and other forms of sexual violence,
arbitrary detention, attacks on schools and hospitals, destruction of cultural
and religious sites and obstructing the exercise of economic, social and cultural
rights, including the right to education.
(UN 2014a: para. 2).
Through its inclusion of acts directed against cultural heritage in this list, the Security
Council reaffirmed the opprobrium with which the international community holds them. In
later resolutions, and in line with existing customary international law, it condemned the
incidental or deliberate destruction and pillage of cultural heritage. More significantly, it
recognised that looting and the illicit traffic of cultural objects is used by these groups to raise
funds, as they do with other economic resources (oil, precious metals) and illicit activities
(kidnapping for ransom). Viewed as facilitating acts which threaten international peace and
security, it calls on Member States to repress these activities and ensure that those who
engage in such acts be ‘brought to justice’ (UN 2015a).
This chapter considers the criminalisation of illicit traffic of cultural objects in international
law and its impact for domestic law. The regulation of the trade in cultural objects has long
been resisted in so-called market States, which host major auction houses and art and antiquities
dealers. The lobbying was particularly directed against ...
Vrdoljak, AF 2017, 'The Criminalisation of the Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage' in Orlando, M & Bergen, T (eds), Forging a Socio-Legal Approach to Environmental Harms Global Perspectives, Routledge, England, pp. 237-266.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This chapter examines how modern international law is protecting world heritage (‘the cultural heritage of all humanity’) by criminalising the intentional destruction of cultural heritage. The digital age of the twenty-first century has witnessed a proliferation of deliberate acts of destruction, damaging and pillaging of World Heritage sites and their broadcasting via social media and the internet. This chapter examines the evolving rationales for the intentional destruction of cultural heritage since the early twentieth century and international law’s response to such acts. First, there is an analysis of its initial criminalisation with the codification of the laws and customs of war and their interpretation by the Nuremberg Tribunal in 1945 through to the jurisprudence of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Court, The Hague. Next, I consider how these developments were extended to crimes against humanity and genocide which enabled deliberate, targeted destruction of cultural heritage to be viewed as intrinsic to gross violations of international humanitarian law and systematic abuses of human rights. Finally, I examine the transformative impact of the digital age on the deliberate destruction of world heritage and the efforts of the international community, through the UN Security Council and UNESCO, to cooperate in curbing incitement and holding perpetrators to account for crimes against the common heritage of humanity.
Vrdoljak, A 2016, 'Standing and Collective Cultural Rights' in Jakubowski, A (ed), Cultural Rights as Collective Rights: An International Law Perspective, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Leiden, pp. 272-287.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The procedural question of standing has deep implications for the definition and enforcement of cultural rights. Cultural rights have individual and collective elements that can lead to several entities seeking access to justice when these rights are violated. This chapter focuses on the question of standing to explore the contours of existing cultural human rights and possible reparations flowing from their violation. It considers claims by (1) an individual member of the group who has been wronged because of their membership of the group; (2) a collective action brought by the group; and (3) a representative action on behalf of the group. The re-emergence of cultural human rights through an emphasis on access to justice exposes a multiplicity of rightholders, often with competing and conflicting interests which courts are increasingly called on to resolve.
Vrdoljak, A 2015, 'Challenges for International Cultural Heritage Law' in Logan, W, Nic Craith, M & Kockel, U (eds), A Companion to Heritage Studies, John Wiley & Sons, UK, pp. 541-556.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Vrdoljak, A 2015, 'International exchange and trade in cultural objects' in Vadi, V & De Witte, B (eds), Culture and International Economic Law, Routledge, London, pp. 124-142.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The failure of the law and regulators to adequately keep up with the rapid expansion and diversification in the use of PMSCs has had a significant impact for victims of human rights violations perpetrated by PMSCs and their employees generally, and for women and girls in particular. To explore these developments, this chapter is divided into two parts. Part One focuses on current initiatives at the international level to provide a regulatory framework for PMSCs and which encompass the obligations of states (and international organisations) in respect of international humanitarian law, human rights law and use of force. Part Two outlines the influence of civil society participation (including feminist academics, women’s NGOs and so forth) in breaking the ‘silence’ within international organisations and international law concerning violence against women and girls and its potential influence upon the regulation of PMSCs. Both parts serve to highlight evolving notions of force and violence, accountability and enforcement, and access to justice and reparations within international law today.
Vrdoljak, A 2014, 'Human Rights and Cultural Heritage in International Law' in Lenzerini, F & Vrdoljak, AF (eds), International Law for Common Goods: Normative Perspectives on Human Rights, Culture and Nature, Hart Publishing, Oxford, UK, pp. 139-174.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Vrdoljak, A & Chamberlain, K 2014, 'Controls on the export of cultural objects and human rights' in Nafziger, JAR & Paterson, RK (eds), Handbook on the Law of Cultural Heritage and International Trade, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK, pp. 532-570.
Vrdoljak, A 2013, 'Enforcement of Restitution of Cultural Heritage through Peace Agreements' in Francioni, F & Gordley, J (eds), Enforcing International Cultural Heritage Law, Oxford University Press, Oxford, United Kingdom, pp. 22-39.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Peace agreements consolidated in modern times provide an important source of international law. They have been especially significant in the formulation of the international and regional protection of cultural heritage from the early 20th century onwards.' There has been a marked escalation in the number, and a transformation in the nature, of armed conflicts since the end of the Cold War.2 Most are intra-state conflicts, with many driven by ethnic and religious differences,3 with minorities and indigenous peoples 'often the targets, rather than the perpetrators of violence'.4 This period has also witnessed a concomitant proliferation in peace agreements.s Although peace agreements covering intra-state conflicts had increased, a significant proportion of conflicts resumed, particularly those with an 'ethnic' element.' The UN Secretary-General noted, '[N]urturing ethnic cultures and traditions lay[s] the foundations for lasting stability'.'
Vrdoljak, A 2013, 'Gross Violations of Human Rights and Restitution: Learning From Holocaust Claims' in Lyndel, LV, Redmond-Cooper, R & Urice, S (eds), Realising Cultural Heritage Law, Institute of Art and Law Ltd, United Kingdom, pp. 163-188.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Vrdoljak, A 2013, 'Liberty, Equality, Diversity: States, Cultures and, International Law' in Ana Vrdoljak (ed), The Cultural Dimension of Human Rights, Oxford University Press, Oxford, United Kingdom, pp. 26-70.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Vrdoljak, A 2012, 'Human Rights and Illicit Trade in Cultural Objects' in Borellli, S & Lenzerini, F (eds), Cultural Heritage, Cultural Rights, Cultural Diversity: New Developments in International Law, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Leiden, pp. 107-140.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Movable cultural heritage is not bounded nor shielded by national territorial borders. Applicable domestic laws are of limited import without the cooperation of other states and the international community. Despite a century of domestic legal protection of movable cultural heritage in many States, widespread non-compliance and lack of enforcement has been the norm rather than the exception.
Vrdoljak, A 2011, 'Cultural Heritage in Human Rights and Humanitarian Law' in Ben-Naftali Orna (ed), International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law, Oxford University Press, United States, pp. 250-302.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Vrdoljak, A 2011, 'Women and Private Military and Security Companies' in Francioni, F & Ronzitti, N (eds), War by Contract: Human Rights, Humanitarian Law, and Private Contractors, Oxford University Press, USA, United States, pp. 280-298.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Vrdoljak, A 2010, 'Unravelling the cradle of civilization 'layer by layer': Iraq, its peoples and cultural heritage' in Langfield, M, Logan, W & Nic Craith, M (eds), Cultural Diversity, Heritage and Human Rights: Intersections in theory and practice, Routledge, London, pp. 65-82.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Vrdoljak, A 2008, 'Access to Justice for Minority Groups' in Francioni, F, Gestri, M, Ronzitti, N & Scovazzi, T (eds), Accesso Alla Giustizia Dell'individuo Nel Diritto Internazionale E Dell'unione Europea, Giuffre Editore, Milano, Italy, pp. 115-148.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Vrdoljak, A 2008, 'Reparations for Cultural Loss' in Lenzerini Federico (ed), Reparations for Indigenous Peoples: International & Comparative Perspectives, Oxford University Press, United States, pp. 197-228.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Vrdoljak, A 2008, 'Self-Determination and Cultural Rights' in Francioni, F & Scheinin, M (eds), Cultural Human Rights, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, The Netherlands, pp. 41-78.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Vrdoljak, A 2008, 'The Secretariat and Support of the World Heritage Committee' in Francioni Francesco (ed), The 1972 World Heritage Convention: A Commentary, Oxford University Press, New York, United States, pp. 243-268.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The World Heritage Committee shall receive and study requests for international assistance formulated by States Parties to this Convention with respect to property forming part of the cultural or natural heritage, situated in their territories, and included or potentially suitable for inclusion in the lists mentioned referred to in paragraphs 2 and 4 of Article 11. The purpose of such requests may be to secure the protection, conservation, presentation or rehabilitation of such property.
Vrdoljak, A 2008, 'World Heritage Committee and International Assistance' in Francioni Francesco (ed), The 1972 World Heritage Convention: A Commentary, Oxford University Press, New York, United States, pp. 219-241.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The World Heritage Committee shall recieve and study requests for international assistance formulated by State Parties to this Convention with respect to property forming part of the cultural or national heritage, situated in their territories, and included or potentially suitable for inclusion in the lists mentioned referred to in paragraphs 2 and 4 of Article 11.
Vrdoljak, A 2011, 'Restitution of Cultural Properties Trafficked During the Colonization Period: A Human Rights Perspective', Strategies to Build the International Network for the Return of Cultural Property, Korean National Commission for UNESCO, Seoul, Korea, pp. 197-208.
Vrdoljak, A 2008, 'Remembering and reconciliation: an international law perspective', Crimes Committed by Totalitarian Regimes, Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Brussels, pp. 265-273.
Vrdoljak, A, Torggler, B, Abakova, M & Rubin, A UNESCO 2014, Evaluation of UNESCO’s Standard-setting Work of the Culture Sector Part II – 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, pp. 1-170, France.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
As the only UN agency with a mandate in culture, UNESCO has developed a comprehensive series of
standard-setting instruments in this field, including six main culture conventions, many
recommendations and a number of declarations. Significant time and resources are spent on standardsetting
activities related to these instruments and even though the visibility of some of this work is high,
no comprehensive evaluation has ever been conducted of the standard-setting work of UNESCO. It is in
this context that UNESCO decided to conduct this evaluation.
Evaluation purpose, scope and methodology
The purpose of the overall evaluation is to generate findings and recommendations regarding the
relevance and the effectiveness of the standard-setting work of the culture sector with a focus on its
impact on ratification; on legislation, policies, and strategies of Parties to UNESCO’s culture conventions;
and on the implementation of the conventions at the national level. A separate report by the IOS Audit
Section assesses the adequacy and efficiency of the working methods used in the standard-setting work.
The evaluation aims to help the UNESCO Culture Sector, Senior Management and the Governing bodies
of the conventions to strengthen, refocus and better coordinate the organisation’s standard-setting
activities. It also wants to contribute to generating a better understanding about how conventions work
in practice, i.e. how they affect legislation and policies of Parties and the behaviour of key institutional
actors. It thereby intends to serve as a source of information for Member States, who have the primary
responsibility for the implementation of the standard-setting instruments at national level.
The overall evaluation examines four of UNESCO’s culture conventions (1970, 1972, 2003 and 2005). The
present report constitutes part two of the overall evaluation. It focuses on the 1970 Convention on the
Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfe...