Cultural property: history, law and war : the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict

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Setién Viota, Nora Leticia
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This dissertation examines how the protection of cultural property in the context of armed conflict has developed throughout history. By historically analysing the evolution of the legal documents and comparing the provisions on cultural property, I present a comprehensive study that illustrates the scope of the protection and how it has evolved. From its ancient origins as customary law, cultural property protection was introduced in international law in the 19th century, at the same time IHL was being consolidated. However, cultural property did not obtained a specialised international treaty of its own until 1954 when The Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict was adopted. The treaty inserted the duty to establish peacetime measures that were further complemented by peacetime conventions. Moreover, through the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions, damage to historical buildings and places of worship became a war crime; and, as it was similarly instituted in the Rome Statute of the ICC, the Court has recently started the first case against an individual solely based on such charges. The Second Protocol to The Hague 1954, a very progressive document, was adopted in 1999 but was also scarcely ratified, which has left the system of protection almost unchanged in the last forty years; and considering the extensive destruction cultural property has been suffering due to contemporary wars, the historic-legal analysis has become necessary to understand the current legal protection and the vacuums it contains
Second semester University: University of Southern Denmark, Danish Institute for Human Rights.
armed conflict, Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, cultural heritage, cultural property, Geneva Conventions, Protocol 1977, June 10, Geneva Conventions, Protocol 1977, June 08, International Criminal Court, UNESCO