Just over two years ago, Russian forces fired a missile that destroyed a museum complex in Ukraine. The attack decimated the home of 18th-century Ukrainian philosopher and poet Hryhorii Skovoroda. Hundreds of years after his death, Skovoroda is still an important national figure. Ukrainian universities bear his name, and he appears on the 500 hryvnia note. For many Ukrainians, the attack felt like it struck at the core of their identity.

Damage to cultural heritage has deep impacts on the people who care about and depend on it. Attacks in Ukraine, Gaza, Yemen, and other areas affected by armed conflict reveal a pattern of harm from explosive weapons to cultural heritage and, by extension, to civilians. But now, a new legal framework could change how nations protect cultural heritage during war.

Joining the show to discuss the impact of explosive weapons on cultural heritage, and what States can do to address it, is Bonnie Docherty.

Bonnie is a Senior Arms Advisor in the Crisis, Conflict and Arms Division of Human Rights Watch. She is also a lecturer on law at Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic and Director of the Clinic’s Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection Initiative.

Listen to the episode by clicking below.

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