Latvia to join convention on protection of cultural property
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).