The Republic of Cyprus is the first State to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Offenses concerning Cultural Goods. The Permanent Representative of the Republic of Cyprus to the Council of Europe, Dr. Spyros Attas, had a meeting Thursday with the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Gabriella Battaini Dragoni, to whom the instrument of ratification of the Convention was presented.
The Nicosia Convention, as it is now known, opened for signature on May 19, 2017 during the Ministerial Meeting held in Nicosia during the Cyprus Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Committee of Ministers (November 2016-May 2017). The Cyprus Presidency highlighted the protection of the cultural heritage as one of its main priorities and aims at completing the writing of this new Council of Europe Convention, actions that fall within the overall strategy of Cyprus for the promotion and protection of cultural heritage on the basis of our own experiences.
The Nicosia Convention is the first international convention to criminalize specific offenses concerning the illicit trafficking and trafficking of cultural goods while promoting international co-operation to counter these phenomena. The Convention has so far been signed by Armenia, Greece, Portugal, San Marino, Mexico, Slovenia, Ukraine and Italy. The Convention is currently open for signature and ratification by the Member States of the Council of Europe as well as to the non-member States which have participated in its drafting. When the Convention enters into force (ratification of the Convention by 5 States, 3 of which are Member States of the Council of Europe), any State not a member of the Council of Europe may address the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe requesting that it be invited to accede to the Nicosia Convention.
The Republic of Cyprus, both bilaterally and in collaboration with the Council of Europe Secretariat, will continue to work to promote the universality of the Nicosia Convention and ratification of the Convention by States of the international community, a Convention that is the only tool to combat the misappropriation and illicit trafficking of cultural heritage./IBNA