EUAM Iraq hosts Legal Symposium on Legal Aspects of the Protection of Iraqi Cultural Heritage

The European Union Advisory Mission in Iraq (EUAM Iraq) organised a Legal Symposium where 10 distinguished Iraqi law scholars gave presentations in response to EUAM Iraq’s Call for Papers regarding “Legal Aspects of the Protection of Iraqi Cultural Heritage. A Step Forward to the Revision of National Law.” 

The event was held on 28 February and 1 March 2022 at the Babylon Hotel in Baghdad.

The aim of the symposium was to address national and international legal issues related to the legal framework for the protection of Iraqi cultural heritage and develop theoretical and practical solutions for a way forward.

Dr. Shymaa Mohammad Shiltag, Deputy Head of the Parliament’s Legal Directorate, provided valuable insight regarding the Council of Representatives and their openness to support future legislative initiatives relating to cultural heritage protection, including as was conceived during the two days of the Legal Symposium.


The symposium presentations over the two days were as follows (to be available for downloading in Arabic and English in the near future): 

  • Prof. Dr. Saddam Faisal Al-Mohammadi:The Efficiency of the Legal Protection for Iraqi Cultural Heritage. An analytical study of the role of the Antiquities and Heritage Law No. 55 issued in 2001, in force.” 
  • Asst. Prof. Dr. Nabeel Mad Allah al-Obaidy:Protection of cultural heritage in accordance with the sources of legal rules.”
  • Prof. Dr. Haider Adham Al-Ta’i: “The Mechanisms of Implementing the International Commitments Related to Countering Terror Funding.” 
  • Dr. Ahmed Shakier Salman: The Role of the International Criminal Court in Protecting Cultural Heritage.”
  • Asst. Prof. Dr. Sabah Sami: “Criminal Protection of the Iraqi Cultural Heritage.”
  • Prof. Dr. Ali Hamza Al-Khafaji: “The Criminal Protection of National Heritage During Armed Conflict.”
  • Asst. Prof. Dr. Hadeel Salih al-Janabi & Asst. Lect. Raya Abdul Sattar: “Protecting Cultural Properties During Occupation Era.”
  • Asst. Prof. Dr. Husam Abdulameer Khalaf: “Intangible Cultural Heritage in Iraq: between Ambition and Reality.” 


The European Union approach to cultural heritage protection in conflicts and crises is based on protecting and enhancing cultural heritage as a factor contributing to peace, reconciliation, and mutual understanding. 

In June 2021, the European Union Council recognised the "role of cultural heritage as an important vehicle for peace, democracy and sustainable development by fostering tolerance, mutual understanding, reconciliation, inter-cultural and inter-faith dialogue, mitigating social tensions and preventing renewed escalation into violent conflict".

In fact, EUAM Iraq was the first CSDP Mission to gain a mandate for cultural heritage protection. This Legal Symposium was organized by EUAM Iraq as part of the European Union’s efforts in relation to civilian security sector reform in Iraq, which includes the protection of cultural heritage as part of the fight against organized crime. 

Cultural heritage is very important to national identity; it’s the foundation upon which the culture of a society is built. Currently there are few cultural protection laws in Iraq, and these tend to be outdated. There is a need to identify the gaps and consolidate and update the rules so protecting heritage is properly understood and effective. 


Watch the video interviews from the event: 

What is the success of the State Board of Antiquities & Heritage in achieving their mandate?

Professor Dr. Alaa Husain al-Lami, Dean of Antiquities & Heritage College - University of Kufa, Najaf, Iraq

Why is there a need to review the current Antiquities & Heritage Law in Iraq? 

Assistant Professor Dr. Sabah Sami Dawood, Criminal Law specialist, College of Law - Baghdad University

Read the publication compiling the presentations by law professors from the event:  

Legal Aspects of the Protection of Iraqi Cultural Heritage. A Step Forward to the Revision of National Law.

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