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Legal history of the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict

30-06-2004 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 854, by François Bugnion

This article retraces the origin and development throughout history of the main rules of international law adopted to safeguard cultural property in the event of armed conflict, and shows their place in the context of international humanitarian law.

 

Abstract 
 

Countless historic monuments, works of art and places of worship have been destroyed in recent conflicts, despite the fact that cultural property, as part of the cultural heritage of all mankind, is protected by the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict of 14 May 1954 — the fiftieth anniversary of which is being celebrated this year — and by other provisions of international humanitarian law, in particular Articles 53 and 16 respectively of Protocols I and II additional to the Geneva Conventions.

This article retraces the origin and development of the main rules of international law adopted to safeguard cultural property in the event of armed conflict, and shows their place in the context of international humanitarian law.

 

   
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