Lviv Hosted Workshops on Crimes Against Cultural Heritage

June 06, 2024

After the international high-profile conference “Cultural Heritage Crime: In Wartime and Beyond” co-organised by the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) Ukraine in 2023, the Mission has followed up with a series of practical workshops for law enforcers on counteracting crimes against cultural heritage.

Last week, EUAM FO Lviv hosted a workshop focused on combatting the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage – a problem in Western part of Ukraine. Professionals from law enforcement agencies, museums, and NGOs came together to share their expertise and modus operandi for counteracting crimes against cultural heritage.

Among the workshops’ highlights was the presentation of a landmark success story where a cultural artefact was recovered due to joint efforts of all stakeholders – an ancient 12th-13th century stone plate. 

Participants also discussed the challenges and opportunities in creating an effective mechanism to prevent, detect, stop, and adjudicate crimes against cultural heritage. Additionally, a detailed case study on illicit trafficking was presented, highlighting the complexities of such crimes and the necessary measures to combat them. Experts shared their insights and experiences, emphasising the importance of their cooperation with law enforcement agencies to address illicit trafficking effectively.

Furthermore, there were lively discussions with representatives from museums and NGOs, who provided law enforcement agencies with valuable first-hand expertise and advice on the topic.

Cultural heritage signifies the identity and memory of the country. If it is subjected to crime and thereby destroyed or dislocated from the public view, there is lesser opportunity to grasp the culture of the country and lesser to remember and learn from history. Fighting crime against cultural heritage is therefore an existential undertaking,” commented Marcus Rolofs, Advisor on Rule of Law, EUAM Field Office in Lviv. 

The workshop underscored the critical importance of protecting cultural heritage and encouraged a spirit of teamwork among all participants to safeguard the rich history and identity of Ukraine for future generations.