The experience of the Italian Carabinieri showcased at high level UNESCO Conference

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GENEVA, APRIL 26 – The experience of the Italian Carabinieri as best practice in the protection in cultural heritage is being showcased in Geneva by Lieutenant Colonel Gianpietro Romano, expert of the Carabinieri Department for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, Italy, during a high level conference organized by UNESCO from 25 to 26 April in Geneva. Protecting Cultural Property, International Conference on the 20th anniversary of the 1999 Second Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention is taking stock of successes and challenges in implementing the 1954 Hague Convention, with a particular focus on its Second Protocol, to provide a coherent vision for the future.

The Second Protocol complements the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, with enhanced protection and recognition of individuals’ criminal responsibility in cases of heritage destruction. To date 82 States have ratified the Second Protocol. Two-hundred and fifty participants, including experts, government ministers and stakeholders – among them Mr Fausto Pocar, President of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law and Professor Emeritus of International Law, University of Milan – are attending the conference, which is organized with the support of the Government of Switzerland.

Opening the conference was Pascale Baeriswyl, State Secretary, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Switzerland, Ernesto Ottone R., UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture, Balthasar Staehelin, Deputy Director of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva.

Panel sessions are focusing on an historical overview of the 1999 Second Protocol, successes and challenges surrounding its implementation, the human rights approach to the protection of cultural heritage, modern armed conflicts emergency response mechanisms, international criminal law, and on the role of non-governmental actors in supporting implementation. Experts will share their experience and discuss examples such as those of Mali and Syria.

Gianpietro Romano serves at the Permanent Delegation of Italy to UNESCO in his capacity of expert in the protection of Cultural Heritage. He entered the Carabinieri Corps in 1985, at age 18. After graduating in Law in 2005, he earned a Master’s degree in Art and Historical studies and protection of Cultural Heritage. During his career, he has conducted many successful investigations, the last of which concerned the Girolamini’s library despoliation. He was presented with some of the Carabinieri Department’s most prestigious awards, including the Knighthood of the Italian Republic, the bronze medal for cultural commitment, the silver medal for a long stretch of command and the silver Cross for a long stretch of duty. From 2007 to 2015 he was in charge of the Antiques Section of the Carabinieri Department for the Protection of Cultural Heritage (TPC). In this capacity he was in command of a team of investigators working on crimes related to Cultural Heritage. (@OnuItalia)