Cultural Heritage Destruction in Ukraine

Co-Sponsored by the American Society of International Law Cultural Heritage Interest Group and the US Committee of the Blue Shield

Date: Friday, May 13, 2022, 1:00 – 2:30 PM ET

Webinar Description: Ukraine is a country rich with sites of immense cultural, historical, and archeological significance. It boasts several World Heritage Sites, as well as a host of treasures in their national and regional museums. Russia’s war against Ukraine has resulted in the decimation of cities, the killing of hundreds of civilians, and the destruction of some of Ukraine’s important cultural treasures. As the war rages on, experts fear that Ukraine’s cultural heritage may also be another casualty of war. This panel will examine the current destruction of Ukraine’s cultural heritage and those sites that are at critical risk. Through this perspective, the panel will examine the international legal regime behind the protection of cultural heritage during armed conflict. This includes a discussion of the obligations of parties to protect cultural heritage, enforcement mechanisms against intentional or collateral destruction, the doctrine of military necessity, and subsequent accountability for any unwarranted damage to cultural heritage.


Learning Objectives:

  1. Examine international instruments related to cultural heritage during armed conflict.
  2. Discuss the importance of the protection of cultural heritage during armed conflict.
  3. Explore potential solutions for future protection mechanisms.


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Emily T. Behzadi,  J.D., Associate Professor of Law, California Western School of Law

Professor Emily Behzadi’s research and teaching interests are in the fields of art and cultural heritage law. With a background in art history, Professor Behzadi’s research focuses on the interdisciplinary connection between the law and the arts within a national and international framework. Her current work explores issues of restitution and the prohibition against the destruction of cultural heritage as developing norms of customary international law. She seeks to expand her research to cultural heritage issues and disputes arising in Latin America, as they relate to U.S. law and policy. Professor Behzadi has published in the Journal of International Law and International Relations (peer reviewed), George Mason International Law Journal, and the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal.

Prior to joining the faculty at California Western School of Law, Professor Behzadi was an Adjunct Professor at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University College of Law and Barry University, Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law. As an attorney, Professor Behzadi practiced in the areas of art and entertainment law, including intellectual property, contracts, immigration, and civil litigation. Professor Behzadi is the Chair of the ABA Young Lawyers Division Entertainment and Sports Law Committee. Professor Behzadi is also the Vice-Chair of the International Division of the ABA Forum on the Entertainment & Sports Industries. She also serves as an Associate Editor of ABA TYL Journal. Professor Behzadi was recognized as one of the ABA’s “40 Top Young Lawyers” and one of the Orlando Business Journal’s 40 under 40.





Patty Gerstenblith, Distinguished Research Professor of Law; Faculty Director, Center for Art, Museum & Cultural Heritage Law, DePaul University – College of Law

Patty Gerstenblith is a distinguished research professor of law at DePaul University and director of its Center for Art, Museum & Cultural Heritage Law. She is founding president of the Lawyers Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation (2005-2011), an officer of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield and senior advisor to the ABA’s Art and Cultural Heritage Law Committee, and a research associate at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. From 2011 to 2017, she served as an appointee of President Obama as the chair of the President’s Cultural Property Advisory Committee in the U.S. Department of State, on which she had previously served as a public representative in the Clinton administration. From 1995 to 2002, she was editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Cultural Property. Her publications include the casebook, ART, CULTURAL HERITAGE AND THE LAW (now in its fourth edition), and her articles, The Disposition of Movable Cultural Heritage, in INTERSECTIONS IN INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL HERITAGE LAW (Anne-Marie Carstens and Elizabeth Varner eds. Oxford Univ. Press 2020); Theft and Illicit Excavation: Legal Principles and Responses, in OXFORD HANDBOOK ON INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL HERITAGE LAW (Francesco Francioni and Ana Vrdoljak eds. Oxford Univ. Press 2020), and Provenances Real, Fake and Questionable, 26 INT’L JOURNAL OF CULTURAL PROPERTY 285-304 (2019). Gerstenblith received her AB from Bryn Mawr College, PhD in art history and anthropology from Harvard University, and JD from Northwestern University. Before joining the DePaul law faculty, Gerstenblith clerked for the Honorable Richard D. Cudahy of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.



Anne Marie Carstens, Law School Assistant Professor and Director of Lawyering, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Anne-Marie Carstens serves as Director of the Lawyering Program and teaches Lawyering, Property, Civil Procedure, and international law and cultural heritage courses. She previously served as visiting professor at Georgetown University Law Center and, more recently, co-chaired its certificate program on Art and Cultural Heritage Law. She has also taught intellectual property and cultural heritage courses for Georgetown Law and for Tulsa Law in their London-based international study programs and taught an undergraduate legal writing course at the University of Maryland College Park.

Her research and scholarship focus primarily on international cultural heritage law and on cultural identity in the domestic and international spheres. She served as an expert advisor on cultural property issues at the U.S. Department of State and chaired the Cultural Heritage and the Arts Interest Group of the American Society of International Law. She has presented widely on issues concerning the legal protection of cultural sites and artifacts, including at the U.S. Senate, U.S. Department of State, Acropolis Museum, Chatham House (Royal Institute of Foreign Affairs, London), and leading universities worldwide. Her publications include Intersections in International Cultural Heritage Law (as co-editor and contributor) and a forthcoming book on Safeguarding Cultural Property During Armed Conflict. In addition, she has authored book chapters on public international law and also been published in the Minnesota Law Review, the Washington Law Review, the Stanford Journal of International Law, the American Journal of International Law, the British Year Book of International Law, the American Journal of Legal History, among others. She also serves as a deputy editor and reviewer for a variety of peer-reviewed publications.

After law school, Professor Carstens clerked for Judge Diana Gribbon Motz on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and practiced litigation in Washington and in London at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. She received her J.D. from Georgetown Law, where she served as Executive Articles Editor of the Georgetown Law Journal. She also holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Virginia and a DPhil in Law (Public International Law) from Oxford University. During her doctoral studies, she was competitively selected by the Oxford Law Faculty for a research residency at Yale Law School and awarded a grant for summer study at the Hague Academy of International Law.



Myroslava Mudrak, Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University College of Arts and Sciences

Myroslava M. Mudrak focuses on the unfolding of modernism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union in relation to the philosophical and stylistic developments of the West.  Her primary interest is in the ideological discourses, socio-political influences, and artistic practice within East European cultures that use modernity to signify national identity.  Currently, she has several larger projects underway: “From the Lotus to the Sickle: the Art of Borys Kosariev”; “The Symbolist Impulse: Vsevolod Maksymovych and the Ukrainian Avant-Garde”.