Another weakness of international law is its inability to enforce. This is its subjective nature inherent in culture. This legacy comes from the Peace of Westphalia of 1648, a treaty that established the concept of sovereign states, each legally allowed to govern its own territory and population without outside influences. Of course, this has worked well in a world that is not so interdependent. Now, however, this is no longer the case. Culture is so closely linked to politics and politics that it is difficult to reach a general consensus on a particular issue, let alone address it. More often than not, culture does not become a scapegoat for non-compliance with international legal norms, a buffer between international policies when they relate to domestic politics, and loopholes for the reinterpretation of laws. In addition, culture becomes an excuse for governments that do not meet certain standards. These governments will pass laws and work to promote and enforce the law, but ultimately blame stagnant outcomes on people who remain stuck in their traditional views or culture. The Achilles heel of international law should be religion, as it enforces the strictest and most indisputable laws and creates the most difficult situations facing the law. For example, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is one of the most important organizations in the United Nations. The organization constantly addresses issues that affect international women and their cultures.
Every culture sees women differently, both in terms of social and political norms. In India, CEDAW has become a tool for the Hindu majority to solve the problems of the Muslim minority. In India, there are differences in legislation between universal laws that apply to all Indian citizens and “personal” laws that govern family and other relationships. Personal laws are defined and respected by certain ethical groups, while the broader government policy is that of non-interference in religion. These personal laws discriminate against and facilitate violence against women. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women had proposed a single national code, but it had not been generally supported. This is a case where religion, and even more so “culture”, was the culprit for the inaction and ineffectiveness of international law. Cultural understanding and empathy are crucial in international law, as the interpretation of a law can vary greatly from culture to culture and we must take into account cultural differences in this globalized world. This standard for a just system of international law is different from the more robust form of justice we might expect for a national society.
The great theory of contemporary justice, that of John Rawls, calls for both an equal right to fundamental freedom for all individuals within a state and a significant redistribution of material wealth to eliminate the worst economic inequalities. But we can`t really expect international law to get this now (especially the second one). What for? Because we cannot start from the inner calm on which we can build this more robust justice, and because the international scene does not have the same kind of strong institutions to impose these kinds of rules on everyone (even if it can impose certain rules on recalcitrant states). The other convention is, of course, the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Cultural Property. This is the prohibition of illegal trade in cultural goods. Now, a few words about it. Many countries strive to return stolen or illegally traded goods. The problem with this convention was that there was no monitoring mechanism.
And in 2012, I convened a meeting of States Parties. They know how difficult it is to change international law. The General Conference of States Parties has therefore decided to establish a committee – there is now a committee and even subcommittees – and to require States parties to submit regular reports. And that was very important. This is what we were doing before this major crisis in the Middle East. I come from Eastern Europe. I know that the Balkans have been plundered and I have been very sensitive to these issues. But it was good that we started this work before, because it helped us much later to create platforms and work on the basis of this convention. Thus, this convention has been ratified by 137 countries. And it was also a problem, because it is a convention that is very strongly linked to the illicit and conflict-free trade in works of art.
Some of the major art markets were not very enthusiastic about attending this convention. But many have it now. So I think we are on the right track to align more countries with this international law. The legalistic critique of nations will always seem rather weak. Certainly, it depends on the righteousness of a cause, and if a country had invaded to stop the genocide in Rwanda, few people would have reprimanded it for ignoring the right process. But the creation of a viable and meaningful set of international legal norms is crucial to securing a future for the human species, and if countries undermine the existing precious and unstable pact, be it Syria, the United States, Britain, France, Russia or Israel, and adopt the concept of “illegal but legitimate,” they threaten to reverse all progress. has ensured lasting world peace. I came across documents from the Iraqi delegation complaining that the United States and its allied forces had also damaged archaeological sites. But this has never been addressed.
And I don`t think that`s been addressed yet. So there are other forms of damage. Arab countries, of course, are questioning the intent and long-term benefits of the things we have mentioned today, such as shelters. The idea of giving something to Switzerland is almost ridiculous. They see this as a kind of proxy colonialism. And in a sense, because we`re not our fault, I think archaeologists are probably the worst people we can talk about because we`re all – we love this stuff, it`s our job, we get paid for it. Yes, we are too committed in a way. MeskellSpeaker: Lynn MeskellShirley and Leonard Ely Professor of Humanities and Natural Sciences, Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Sanford I want to answer the question about entrepreneurs. I think it was last year when some architects and NGOs – I think it was in Mosul – circulated a series of emails, with photos showing that the destruction was continuing, contractors entering and leveling partially damaged buildings and buildings that were not damaged at all to make way for commercial enterprises. So in the midst of the struggle, people obviously saw economic benefits.
And I`m not sure, but I think the clue was that they were also international entrepreneurs. So it`s business as usual. And I think that, on a more ethnographic or anecdotal note, some consultants I know who have worked in Iraq under the auspices of UNESCO, who have done a very good job in the Middle East, have also seen through this international network of consultants that we are talking about a European variety that business is also being done. And also the parents of people who were also employed and who had links with very large European companies and banks got a foot in the door. So my concern would always be to look at ourselves as well, that we, as elites, professionals and people who have contacts or who are maybe in business or something like that, mix everything together.