Georghios M. Pikis [25-10-2011] ‘WoT Launch’
The Hague, 25 October 2011: The Significance of the Walk of Truth; Introduction by H.E. Judge Georghios M. Pikis, Former Judge of the ICC and Former President of the Supreme Court of Cyprus:
The search for truth and unabating commitment to such path of life is the unfailing guide to reality bringing to the fore, uncoloured knowledge about the past, the present and the future. Perennial pursuit of knowledge about life and the forces that sustain it, chart the walk of truth.
Unbiased knowledge enlightening about the course of humanity, its achievements and drawbacks is what enables man to mould the present and plan the future. Seeking the truth presupposes riddance of every kind of prejudice that narrows and blurs the horizon of man. Knowledge about the past is consequential; it lays the parameters of the walk of truth. It informs about the past, enlightens about the lessons of experience and identifies the conditions under which man can function best and realise his/her potential.
The culture of the past, in its various aspects and manifestations, is an irreplaceable source informing about the evolution of art, the subjects that attracted its attention, the characteristics of an era and its impact on civilisation. Recovering from the mist of antiquity and protecting art is vital for a variety of reasons. Therethrough, we gain knowledge about the state of art, the causes that motivate artists and their technique. Also they provide an insight into the forces that define the identity of people something especially relevant to ecclesiastical artefacts.
Trading in cultural treasures, stolen or removed in order to blunt traces of cultural heritage or acquired under surreptitious circumstances is a modern evil to be combated.
Destruction and theft of antiquarian treasuresis indeed a frequent phenomenon, often the offspring of war or warlike operations that traumatised humanity in the past and continue to do so. International law classifies intentionally directed attacks against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science, charitable purposes and historic monuments as war crimes. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court is specific on the subject (see article 8.2(b)(ix)).
Tracing and recovering removed or stolen cultural artifacts is of common interest to humanity. People everywhere in the world have the same right to the recovery of lost and stolen treasures marking their identity.
Tasoula Hadjitofi, the moving force behind the “Walk of Truth”, has been a protagonist in the tracing and recovery of stolen or lost ecclesiastical artefacts of Cyprus, devoting time and money in the pursuit of this noble cause. Herself, a refugee from Famagusta, a beautiful city of Cyprus, has spared no effort in locating and seeking to recover icons and ecclesiastical treasures. Notwithstanding the displacement of her family, she retained her objectivity, believing that recovery of artefacts is a universal call of equal importance to every country and its people. Truth, not prejudice, has marked her track. Knowing her as well as I do, I believe she will continue to tread the path of truth, the only walk that can inundate the world with justice.