In situations of armed conflict, cultural property is a civilian object entitled to protection under International Humanitarian Law. Nevertheless, cultural property is endangered during military operations through its military use, deliberate destruction, or as collateral damage arising out of the targeting of military objectives in close proximity to it. Outside of the conduct of hostilities, cultural property is further exposed to the risk of looting, pillage and illicit exportation. With the use of examples of cultural property illicitly removed from territories under belligerent occupation, this article aims to identify the scope of the obligation to prevent and prohibit the illicit export of cultural property from occupied territories and, upon failure to do so, the obligation to return it to the aforementioned territories. In addition, it enquires into the treaty-based monitoring system that supervises the implementation of the provisions related to the prevention of exportation and the return of cultural property to the authorities of (formerly) occupied territories.
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