2002 | 2 | 217-223
Article title

Zniszczenie stanowiska archeologicznego w świetle obowiązującego prawa oraz działań prokuratury i sądu

Title variants
The Destruction of an Archaeological Site in the Light of Binding Law and the Activity of the Prosecutor's Office and Courts
Languages of publication
The destruction of an archaeological site is a crime defined in article 288 § 1 of the penal code in connection with article 294 § 2 of the penal code. Albeit both regulations do not make direct mention of an archaeological site or monument, the formulation about “property of particular significance for culture” is interpreted by the prosecutor’s office and courts as a registered historical monument. Experiences of the conservation services in the voivodeship of Varmia and Mazuria show that despite the conviction universally shared by conservators about the ineffectual persecution of felons guilty of incurring damage to archeological sites, successes in this field are possible. In the mentioned voivodeship eight such cases were tried in the years 2000-2002, and all ended with sentences. Nonetheless, the process of attaining success involves many factors which, as long as they are skillfully exploited, may comprise excellent weapons in the battle waged against dishonest investors or persons digging for the purpose of obtaining metal monuments. One of the fundamental premises is the active p a rticipation of conservation services, the provision of information about the committed felony and witnesses testimony or participation as an auxiliary prosecutor during the court trial; determination and consistency are also of great importance. It is insufficient to merely inform about a crime nor is it possible to resign from the possibility of filing a complaint or an appeal in a situation when the prosecutor’s office or court discontinue legal proceedings or adjudicate the slight social harm of the deed and the perpetrator remains unpunished. As a rule, such situations are linked with a misunderstanding of the specificity of archaeological heritage on the part of the administration of justice. Another prominent factor of decisive importance in cases of this kind involves registering historical monuments. Apparently, only registered archaeological sites can be recognised as property of particular importance for culture. The conclusions stemming from cases concerning the destruction of archaeological sites are as follows: 1. effective activity starts not in court or the prosecutor’s office but already at the stage of ordinary administrative work — decisions to register historical monuments, properly conducted coordination of investments, etc.; 2. the specificity of archaeological heritage is, as a rule, unknown to prosecutors and judges, and thus eventual success depends predominantly upon the active participation of the conservation services at all stages of procedure in the prosecutor’s office and court; 3. the more frequently are such cases reported to the organs of persecution, the more often will they have their finale in court and the easier will it be to penalise the perpetrators.
Physical description
  • Warmińsko-Mazurski Wojewódzki Konserwator Zabytków
  • Konserwator Zabytków Archeologicznych
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
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