The ruling of 2013 was historic since it marked the very first time sentencing for war crimes due to acts of destruction of a cultural heritage artifact. The sentencing helped show the extent to which times have changed with the importance to cultural heritage being considered. The ruling of the case is an important mark in history considering the destruction of artifacts by ISIS and the Taliban during their crusade. The statutes and its interpretations were challenged through this ruling.
The balance between military tactics and heritage protection is still a gap that has not been fully exploited and covered (Hazan 6). The laws are giving presidency to military tactics over protection of heritage. It would be legally correct to bomb a bridge holding such cultural and historical importance to the community if it was a military tactic. This was what the appeal ruling of the year 2017 seemed to be going for in coming to the nullification of the first ruling.
Considering such conflicts, it becomes impossible to use either criminal laws or international laws to protect cultural heritage. The ruling was made based on the analysis of the physical, emotional, and psychological imperatives attached to the necessity of the bridge. However, the law failed to bring out the right measure for either of the different aspects. The appeal court in its wisdom saw this as an opportunity to ease the international laws.
Rules are intended to protect the society from exploitation and ensure there is order in every aspect of society. Considering that the protection of cultural heritage falls within the society it would stand to reason that the rules ensure that it is also protected. The first ruling presented this angle of argument, but the laws, however, failed to provide an accurate measuring point for how to measure destruction of such artifacts.
Hazan, Pierre. “Was the destruction of Old Mostar Bridge a war crime?” 11 November 2012. Justice Info.net. 9 April 2018 <https://www.justiceinfo.net/en/justice-reconciliation/35714-was-the-destruction-of-old-mostar-bridge-a-war-crime.html>.