Comparing interpretations of States' and non-state actors' obligations toward cultural heritage in armed conflict and occupation : military manuals and the law of war
Intersections in International Cultural Heritage Law
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2020
The 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954 Hague Convention) remains the leading treaty on the treatment of cultural heritage during armed conflict and occupation. After several decades of relative dormancy, eleven States have joined the 1954 Hague Convention in the last decade, including two major military powers: the United States and the United Kingdom. In addition to the 1954 Hague Convention, a host of laws touch on the protection of cultural property in armed conflict, as well as those under customary international law. Nonetheless, there are disagreements in interpretations of States’ obligations toward cultural property during armed conflict stemming from a variety of factors. These factors can include: whether States are Parties to the instrument that conveys the obligation or if the obligation is one of customary international law, which itself is often contested; the individual State’s interpretation; interpretation by tribunals; and a plethora of other factors. Given these discrepancies in interpretation, a review of States’ military manuals is useful to see if they shed any light on the State’s interpretation of their obligations toward cultural property under the law of armed conflict (LOAC) and international obligations in LOAC more generally. This chapter will analyze and compare the military manuals of the United States and the United Kingdom to determine how they elucidate several key issues in the protection of cultural property during armed conflict, such as the definition of ‘cultural property’, requirements for ‘respect’, the doctrine of military necessity, and laws applicable in non-international armed conflicts.
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