Fois, Fabrizio (2017) Contributo alla ricostruzione dei caratteri del "patrimonio culturale comune". Doctoral Thesis.
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The international law lacks of a unique term to usefully describe all the aspects of the cultural heritage (tangible, intangible, underwater) and their relevance for the humanity as a whole.
To this end, the present study affirms the utility of the principle of the “common heritage of mankind”. It has been developed in the law of the sea to describe the areas outside the State's jurisdiction, where every State has the right to exploit the resources in a peaceful and rational way and to share the benefits; it could be applied also to the cultural heritage, although with some difference, especially the fact that cultural property stays under the sovereignty of the States.
Although the power to select the cultural properties that deserve an international protection is usually a prerogative of the State in whose territory they are located, the existence of the “common cultural heritage” is concretely testified from the possibility for some international institution to independently select, under certain circumstances, the properties to inscribe on the UNESCO’s lists for the interest of all the humanity. Another element which supports the principle of “common cultural heritage” is that, in the case of destruction of cultural properties (inscribed or not on the UNESCO’s lists), the international acts and the international organizations talk about “destruction of common heritage of mankind”.
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