THE MTOT INITIATES ENFORCEMENT OF SANCTIONS TO SCIENTIFIC INSTITUTIONS IMPLEMENTING ILLEGAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATIONS IN CRIMEA
The Ministry for Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine (MTOT) initiated implementation of restrictive measures to 28 legal entities of scientific and museum institutions, representatives of which participated in illegal archaeological excavations in temporarily occupied territory of The Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopil
Over the past five years the Russian Federation has been actively carrying out illegal archaeological excavations. A number of leading scientific and museum institutions of the Russian Federation were attracted to those excavations. Scientific institutions of Crimea that were illegally registered as Russian legal entities actively participate in archaeological excavations.
Large number of illegal archaeological excavations is carried out within the realization of large infrastructure projects of the Russian Federation – construction of a transport passage through the Kerch Strait, construction of so-called highway «Tavrida», etc.
Basis for carrying out archaeological excavations in Crimea is the “open letters” (permissions) to conduct such actions that illegally are issued to employees of scientific institutions by the Ministry for Culture of Russia. During the period of 2014-2018 the Ministry for Culture of Russia accepted 90 permit orders for archaeological excavations in temporarily occupied territory of The Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopil.
For the purposes of monitoring enforcement of the legal regime in temporarily occupied territory the MTOT identified a number of individuals who have received permission to conduct illegal archaeological excavations. The sanctions were applied to 15 of them, who are residents of the Russian Federation, at the initiative of the MTOT, by the Decree of the President of Ukraine dated 19 March 2019 No. 82/2019.
The MTOT currently initiated implementation of restrictive measures to 28 legal entities of scientific and museum institutions, representatives of which participated in illegal archaeological excavations in temporarily occupied territory of The Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopil. The draft of the relevant Act is sent for approval to concerned State bodies, at which point it will be sent for review to the Government.
Over 1 million archaeological artifacts were found during excavations that have been carried out during construction of a bridge across the Kerch Strait according to the estimates of representatives of Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). On 15th of May 2019 Institute of Archeology RAS had produced research in two editions (800 pages each edition) devoted to the results of archaeological excavations in Crimea in 2017-2018.
Carrying out archaeological excavations in temporarily occupied territories runs counter to some Acts on international humanitarian law:
- Article 5 of the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict dated 14 May 1954 on protection and preserving of cultural property within the occupied territories; Article 9 of the Second Protocol to the Hague Conventions for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954) dated 26 March 1999, which expressly prohibits the occupant State carrying out archaeological excavations in the occupied territory, export objects of cultural property from occupied territory, modification of cultural property, putting at risk certification of historical, scientific or cultural nature.
- By provision of paragraph 32 Recommendation on International Principles Applicable to Archaeological Excavations dated 05 December 1956  that indicates that State occupying the territory of another State should refrain from carrying out archaeological excavations in the occupied territory;
- Article 11 of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property dated 14 November 1970  that indicates that export or transfer of rights on cultural property that occurred as a result of the occupation are illegal;
- Article 6 of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage dated 16 November 1972  on avoidance to apply damage to the cultural and natural heritage situated within the territory of another state, and etc.
- Article 10 of the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage dated 02 November 2001  that indicates permission to conduct any activities aimed at cultural heritage on the continental shelf or in exceptional economic zone can render only by state sovereign, etc.
 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict(1954) https://zakon.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/995_157 Protocol І https://zakon.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/995_722 Protocol ІІ https://www.un.org/ru/documents/decl_conv/conventions/hague_conv_2nd_prot.shtml