Latvia to join con­ven­tion on pro­tec­tion of cul­tural prop­erty

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Latvia’s Cabi­net of Min­is­ters has sup­ported Latvia’s join­ing of Coun­cil of Europe Con­ven­tion on Of­fences re­lat­ing to Cul­tural Prop­erty. This doc­u­ment will be signed on Latvia’s be­half by Jus­tice Min­is­ter Dz­in­tars Ras­načs.

The Jus­tice Min­is­ter says join­ing this con­ven­tion will en­hance the fight against ter­ror­ism, be­cause theft, de­struc­tion and il­le­gal trade of cul­tural trea­sures is very com­mon for ter­ri­to­ries oc­cu­pied by ter­ror­ists. Ter­ror­ists use them as a source of fund­ing, which must be com­bated more ef­fec­tively, says the min­is­ter.

Lat­vian Jus­tice Min­istry took ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion in the con­ven­tion’s devel­op­ment. Latvia may be one of the first EU Coun­cil mem­ber states to sign it and com­mence the com­pli­ance process by im­prov­ing ex­ist­ing na­tional leg­is­la­tion and in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion in the fight against de­struc­tion of cul­tural trea­sures, the min­istry ex­plains. «By join­ing this con­ven­tion and re­al­iz­ing uni­fied con­di­tions in re­la­tion to in­ves­ti­ga­tion, com­mence­ment of crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion and in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion, Latvia and other EU Coun­cil mem­ber states will be able to pre­vent and com­bat crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties aimed at de­stroy­ing cul­tural her­itage more ef­fec­tively,» says Ras­načs. The con­ven­tion is one of Euro­pean Coun­cil’s new­est ad­di­tions to the arse­nal of tools for com­bat­ing crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties as­so­ci­ated with cul­tural trea­sures and ter­ror­ism fi­nanc­ing, be­cause il­le­gal trade of cul­tural trea­sures is one of the most com­mon forms of or­ga­nized crime and sources of fund­ing for ter­ror­ism.

The con­ven­tion was ap­proved on 3 May 2017 and be­came open for sign­ing on 19 May 2017 dur­ing the 127th ses­sion of the Euro­pean Coun­cil Min­is­ters Com­mit­tee in Ni­cosia, Cyprus.

It is also worth mentioning that the con­ven­tion will come into force once it has been rat­i­fied by at least five coun­tries, three of which have to be mem­ber states of the EU Coun­cil. So far this con­ven­tion has been signed by six coun­tries (Ar­me­nia, Cyprus, Greece, Por­tu­gal, San Marino and Mexico).

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