Dr Elena Katselli

Protecting the Right of those Forcibly Displaced by Armed Conflict to Cultural Heritage: Beyond the Reach of the European Court of Human Rights?


This paper will demonstrate that whilst cultural heritage is a concept that finds growing significance in international law, the relationship between cultural heritage and individuals and the protection of cultural heritage as a fundamental individual human right are still in infant stage. This is particularly so in situations of armed conflict and forcible displacement where individuals do not only suffer a material loss, that of their property, but also, perhaps even more compellingly, their emotional and spiritual links to their roots and to their cultural heritage. To this effect, the paper will argue that current international human rights law does not encapsulate sufficiently the need to protect the connection that individuals have with their cultural heritage, with the emphasis placed on the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights.



Elena Katselli is Senior Lecturer in Law at Newcastle University and Co-convenor of the Newcastle Forum for Human Rights & Social Justice. She holds a degree in Law from the University of Athens, as well as a Master of Laws in International and European Legal Studies and a PhD in Public International Law (with full scholarship) both from Durham University, UK. She is also a qualified advocate (Supreme Court of Cyprus). Her monograph titled The Problem of Enforcement in International Law: Countermeasures, the non-injured state and the idea of international community (Routledge) was nominated for the Paul Guggenheim Prize 2011 (Institut de Droit, Geneva), while her article titled ‘Holding the Security Council Accountable for Human Rights Violations’ published in Human Rights & International Legal Discourse (2007) was re-produced in M.P. Malloy, Economic Sanctions (Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, 2015). She is also editor of the book Armed Conflict and Forcible Displacement: Individual Rights under International Law published by Routledge in 2018. Over the years she has held several Visiting academic positions/fellowships at the University of Trento, Italy; the European Academy of Bolzano, Italy; the Human Rights Centre, Ghent University, Belgium; the University of Tübingen, Germany; the T.C. Beirne School of Law/Centre for Public, International and Comparative Law, University of Queensland, Australia; and the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.