Six countries, including the Republic of Cyprus, intend to sign next week the “Nicosia Convention” on Offences relating to Cultural Property, while six more have expressed satisfaction with the legal text.
According to diplomatic sources in Nicosia, Greece is among the countries that contemplate signing the treaty, along with Ukraine, Armenia, Belgium and Mexico, a country with observer status at the Council of Europe (CoE).
The Convention will open for signatures during the 127th Session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, on Friday, May 19, in Nicosia. It aspires to be the only international treaty that provides criminal sanctions for offences involving cultural property.
The treaty will be open for signature to any country in the world, and will not be limited to CoE member states, due to the transnational nature of crimes. After the signing, each state also needs to ratify the Convention.
Among the countries that are positively disposed are Russia, the Netherlands, France, and Germany, but according to CNA sources, they appear hesitant to sign because of required internal processes that have to be completed.
The same sources note that there is a slim possibility of Turkey signing the Treaty. Ankara will be represented at the Ministerial meeting, possibly by its Permanent Representative in Strasbourg. It is expected that 33 Ministers or their representatives will attend the meeting here.
Nicosia, according to the same sources, expects more countries to conclude their relevant internal processes soon, in order to sign the Convention, since all seem to admit the seriousness of the crimes, such as illicit trafficking conducted by the so-called Islamic State.
Cyprus currently holds the Chair of the Council of Ministers of the 47-member organization and will be passing the Chairmanship on May 19 to the Czech Republic.