14.10.2005 -

Book: "The Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict" by Jyri Toman Translated into Russian

The Book by Jyri Toman “The Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict” has been translated into Russian and published by the “Magister Press” Publisher House with the support of UNESCO. The publication contains the detailed analysis of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and two its Protocols which still remain the only universal juridical instrument in this field.

The Convention and its First Protocol were adopted on May 14, 1954, at The Hague (Netherlands) in the wake of massive destruction of cultural heritage in the Second World War. It was the first international treaty to focus exclusively on the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict. It covers immovable and movable cultural property including: monuments of architecture, art or history; archaeological sites, works of art, manuscripts, books and other objects of artistic, historical or archaeological interest, as well as scientific collections of all kinds regardless of their origins or ownership.

The First Protocol, specific to movable cultural property and the issue of restitution, prohibits the export of such property from an occupied territory and requires its return to the territory of the State from which the property was exported. This Protocol also prohibits the retention of cultural property as war reparations.

The Second Protocol, which was adopted in 1999 and entered into force on March 9 this year, reinforces the Convention by reaffirming the “immunity” of cultural property in times of war or occupation, and establishing the “individual criminal responsibility” of perpetrators of crimes against cultural property. It also limits the notion of “imperative military necessity”, which authorizes waivers regarding cultural property. Finally, it provides for the creation of an Intergovernmental Committee of 12 States Parties that will essentially be responsible for monitoring the 1999 Protocol, granting “enhanced protection” and providing international assistance.

“The victims of modern warfare are not confined to the present generation but include past and future generations too. This is why the protection of cultural property during armed conflict is so necessary and why internationally validated norms and procedures are needed. The Hague Convention and its Protocols are important for these reasons.”

Koichiro Matsuura

 

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