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The protection of cultural property in occupied territory

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Chapter Summary

The protection of cultural property has long been recognised under international humanitarian law. Article 5 of the 1954 Hague Convention on Cultural Property embodies three-pronged affirmative obligations specifically relating to occupied territory. With specific regard to occupied territory, Article 56 of the Hague Regulations of 1907 accord special protections to the property of institutions dedicated to religion, charity, education, the arts and sciences. The occupying powers are absolutely prohibited from seizing, destroying or causing wilful damage to institutions of this character, historic monuments, and works of art and science. In occupied territory, the occupying power must prohibit, prevent and stop any form of theft, pillage or misappropriation of, and any acts of vandalism directed against, the cultural property as defined in Article 1 of the 1954 Convention. The application of rules on the conduct of hostilities in turn necessitates the occupying power to undertake careful appraisal of the applicable rules.

Keywords: cultural property; Hague Regulations; international humanitarian law; occupied territory



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