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U.S. and International Laws

 
Convention for the Protection of 
Cultural Property In the Event of Armed Conflict

(The Hague Convention)

Done at the Hague, on 14 May 1954

The High Contracting Parties,

Recognizing that cultural property has suffered grave damage
during recent armed conflicts and that, by reason of the
developments in the technique of warfare, it is in increasing
danger of destruction;

Being convinced that damage to cultural property belonging to any
people whatsoever means damage to the cultural heritage of all
mankind, since each people makes its contribution to the culture
of the world;

Considering that the preservation of the cultural heritage is of
great importance for all peoples of the world and that it is
important that this heritage should receive international
protection;

Guided by the principles concerning the protection of cultural
property during armed conflict, as established in the Conventions
of The Hague of 1899 and of 1907 and in the Washington Pact of 15
April, 1935;

Being of the opinion that such protection cannot be effective
unless both national and international measures have been taken
to organize it in time of peace;

Being determined to take all possible steps to protect cultural
property;

Have agreed upon the following provisions:


       CHAPTER I: GENERAL PROVISIONS REGARDING PROTECTION

                            Article 1

                 DEFINITION OF CULTURAL PROPERTY

For the purposes of the present Convention, the term "cultural
property" shall cover, irrespective of origin or ownership:

     (a) movable or immovable property of great importance to the
     cultural heritage of every people, such as monuments of
     architecture, art or history, whether religious or secular;
     archaeological sites; groups of buildings which, as a whole,
     are of historical or artistic interest; works of art;
     manuscripts, books and other objects of artistic, historical
     or archaeological interest; as well as scientific
     collections and important collections of books or archives
     or of reproductions of the property defined above;

     (b) buildings whose main and effective purpose is to
     preserve or exhibit the movable cultural property defined in
     sub-paragraph (a) such as museums, large libraries and
     depositories of archives, and refuges intended to shelter,
     in the event of armed conflict, the movable cultural
     property defined in subparagraph (a);

     (c) centres containing a large amount of cultural property
     as defined in subparagraphs (a) and (b), to be known as
     "centres containing monuments".


                            Article 2

                 PROTECTION OF CULTURAL PROPERTY

For the purposes of the present Convention, the protection of
cultural property shall comprise the safeguarding of and respect
for such property.


                            Article 3

                SAFEGUARDING OF CULTURAL PROPERTY

The High Contracting Parties undertake to prepare in time of
peace for the safeguarding of cultural property situated within
their own territory against the foreseeable effects of an armed
conflict, by taking such measures as they consider appropriate.

                            Article 4

                  RESPECT FOR CULTURAL PROPERTY

1. The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect cultural
property situated within their own territory as well as within
the territory of other High Contracting Parties by refraining
from any use of the property and its immediate surroundings or of
the appliances in use for its protection for purposes which are
likely to expose it to destruction or damage in the event of
armed convict; and by refraining from any act of hostility
directed against such property.

2. The obligations mentioned in paragraph 1 of the present
Article may be waived only in cases where military necessity
imperatively requires such a waiver.

3. The High Contracting Parties further undertake to prohibit,
prevent and, if necessary, put a stop to any form of theft,
pillage or misappropriation of, and any acts of vandalism
directed against, cultural property. They shall refrain from
requisitioning movable cultural property situated in the
territory of another High Contracting Party.

4. They shall refrain from any act directed by way of reprisals
against cultural property.

5. No High Contracting Party may evade the obligations incumbent
upon it under the present Article, in respect of another High
Contracting Party, by reason of the fact that the latter has not
applied the measures of safeguard referred to in Article 3.


                            Article 5

                           OCCUPATION

1. Any High Contracting Party in occupation of the whole or part
of the territory of another High Contracting Party shall as far
as possible support the competent national authorities of the
occupied country in safeguarding and preserving its cultural
property.

2. Should it prove necessary to take measures to preserve
cultural property situated in occupied territory and damaged by
military operations, and should the competent national
authorities be unable to take such measures, the Occupying Power
shall, as far as possible, and in close co-operation with such
authorities, take the most necessary measures of preservation.

3. Any High Contracting Party whose government is considered
their legitimate government by members of a resistance movement,
shall, if possible, draw their attention to the obligation to
comply with those provisions of the Convention dealing with
respect for cultural property.


                            Article 6

            DISTINCTIVE MARKING OF CULTURAL PROPERTY

In accordance with the provisions of Article 16, cultural
property may bear a distinctive emblem so as to facilitate its
recognition.


                            Article 7

                        MILITARY MEASURES

1. The High Contracting Parties undertake to introduce in time of
peace into their military regulations or instructions such
provisions as may ensure observance of the present Convention,
and to foster in the members of their armed forces a spirit of
respect for the culture and cultural property of all peoples.

2. The High Contracting Parties undertake to plan or establish in
peacetime, within their armed forces, services or specialist
personnel whose purpose will be to secure respect for cultural
property and to co-operate with the civilian authorities
responsible for safeguarding it.


                 CHAPTER II: SPECIAL PROTECTION

                            Article 8

                 GRANTING OF SPECIAL PROTECTION

1. There may be placed under special protection a limited number
of refuges intended to shelter movable cultural property in the
event of armed conflict, of centres containing monuments and
other immovable cultural property of very great importance,
provided that they:

     (a) are situated at an adequate distance from any large
     industrial centre or from any important military objective
     constituting a vulnerable point, such as, for example, an
     aerodrome, broadcasting station, establishment engaged upon
     work of national defense, a port or railway station of
     relative importance or a main line of communication;

     (b) are not used for military purposes.

2. A refuge for movable cultural property may also be placed
under special protection, whatever its location, if it is so
constructed that, in all probability, it will not be damaged by
bombs.

3. A centre containing monuments shall be deemed to be used for
military purposes whenever it is used for the movement of
military personnel or material, even in transit. The same shall
apply whenever activities directly connected with military
operations, the stationing of military personnel, or the
production of war material are carried on within the centre.

4. The guarding of cultural property mentioned in paragraph 1
above by armed custodians specially empowered to do so, or the
presence, in the vicinity of such cultural property, of police
forces normally responsible for the maintenance of public order
shall not be deemed to be use for military purposes.

5. If any cultural property mentioned in paragraph 1 of the
present Article is situated near an important military objective
as defined in the said paragraph, it may nevertheless be placed
under special protection if the High Contracting Party asking for
that protection undertakes, in the event of armed conflict, to
make no use of the objective and particularly, in the case of a
port, railway station or aerodrome, to divert all traffic
therefrom. In that event, such diversion shall be prepared in
time of peace.

6. Special protection is granted to cultural property by its
entry in the "International Register of Cultural Property under
Special Protection". This entry shall only be made, in accordance
with the provisions of the present Convention and under the
conditions provided for in the Regulations for the execution of
the Convention.


                            Article 9

     IMMUNITY OF CULTURAL PROPERTY UNDER SPECIAL PROTECTION

The High Contracting Parties undertake to ensure the immunity of
cultural property under special protection by refraining, from
the time of entry in the International Register, from any act of
hostility directed against such property and, except for the
cases provided for in paragraph 5 of Article 8, from any use of
such property or its surroundings for military purposes.


                           Article 10

                   IDENTIFICATION AND CONTROL

During an armed conflict, cultural property under special
protection shall be marked with the distinctive emblem described
in Article 16, and shall be open to international control as
provided for in the Regulations for the execution of the
Convention.

                           Article 11

                     WITHDRAWAL OF IMMUNITY

1. If one of the High Contracting Parties commits, in respect of
any item of cultural property under special protection, a
violation of the obligations under Article 9, the opposing Party
shall, so long as this violation persists, be released from the
obligation to ensure the immunity of the property concerned.
Nevertheless, whenever possible, the latter Party shall first
request the cessation of such violation within a reasonable time.

2. Apart from the case provided for in paragraph 1 of the present
Article, immunity shall be withdrawn from cultural property under
special protection only in exceptional cases of unavoidable
military necessity, and only for such time as that necessity
continues. Such necessity can be established only by the officer
commanding a force the equivalent of a division in size or
larger. Whenever circumstances permit, the opposing Party shall
be notified, a reasonable time in advance, of the decision to
withdraw immunity.

3. The Party withdrawing immunity shall, as soon as possible, so
inform the Commissioner-General for cultural property provided
for in the Regulations for the execution of the Convention, in
writing, stating the reasons.


           CHAPTER III: TRANSPORT OF CULTURAL PROPERTY

                           Article 12

               TRANSPORT UNDER SPECIAL PROTECTION

1. Transport exclusively engaged in the transfer of cultural
property, whether within a territory or to another territory,
may, at the request of the High Contracting Party concerned, take
place under special protection in accordance with the conditions
specified in the Regulations for the execution of the Convention.

2. Transport under special protection shall take plate under the
international supervision provided for in the aforesaid
Regulations and shall display the distinctive emblem described in
Article 16.

3. The High Contracting Parties shall refrain from any act of
hostility directed against transport under special protection.


                           Article 13

                    TRANSPORT IN URGENT CASES

1. If a High Contracting Party considers that the safety of
certain cultural property requires its transfer and that the
matter is of such urgency that the procedure laid down in Article
12 cannot be followed, especially at the beginning of an armed
conflict, the transport may display the distinctive emblem
described in Article 16, provided that an application for
immunity referred to in Article 12 has not already been made and
refused. As far as possible, notification of transfer should be
made to the opposing Parties. Nevertheless, transport conveying
cultural property to the territory of another country may not
display the distinctive emblem unless immunity has been expressly
granted to it.

2. The High Contracting Parties shall take, so far as possible,
the necessary precautions to avoid acts of hostility directed
against the transport described in paragraph 1 of the present
Article and displaying the distinctive emblem.


                           Article 14

            IMMUNITY FROM SEIZURE, CAPTURE AND PRIZE

1. Immunity from seizure, placing in prize, or capture shall be
granted to:

     (a) cultural property enjoying the protection provided for
     in Article 12 or that provided for in Article 13;

     (b) the means of transport exclusively engaged in the
     transfer of such cultural property.

2. Nothing in the present Article shall limit the right of visit
and search.


                     CHAPTER IV:  PERSONNEL

                           Article 15

                            PERSONNEL

As far as is consistent with the interests of security, personnel
engaged in the protection of cultural property shall, in the
interests of such property, be respected and, if they fall into
the hands of the opposing Party, shall be allowed to continue to
carry out their duties whenever the cultural property for which
they are responsible has also fallen into the hands of the
opposing Party.


                CHAPTER V: THE DISTINCTIVE EMBLEM

                           Article 16

                    EMBLEM OF THE CONVENTION

1. The distinctive emblem of the Convention shall take the form
of a shield, pointed below, per saltire blue and white (a shield
consisting of a royal blue square, one of the angles of which
forms the point of the shield, and of a royal-blue triangle above
the square, the space on either side being taken up by a white
triangle).

2. The emblem shall be used alone, or repeated three times in a
triangular formation (one shield below), under the conditions
provided for in Article 17.


                           Article 17

                        USE OF THE EMBLEM

1. The distinctive emblem repeated three times may be used only
as means of identification of:

     (a) immovable cultural property under special protection;
     (b) the transport of cultural property under the conditions
     provided for in Articles 12 and 13;

     (c) improvised refuges, under the conditions provided for in
     the Regulations for the execution of the Convention.

2. The distinctive emblem may be used alone only as a means of
identification of:

     (a) cultural property not under special protection;

     (b) the persons responsible for the duties of control in
     accordance with the Regulations for the execution of the
     Convention;

     (c) the personnel engaged in the protection of cultural
     property;

     (d) the identity cards mentioned in the Regulations for the
     execution of the Convention.

3. During an armed conflict, the use of the distinctive emblem in
any other cases than those mentioned in the preceding paragraphs
of the present Article, and the use for any purpose whatever of a
sign resembling the distinctive emblem, shall be forbidden.

4. The distinctive emblem may not be placed on any immovable
cultural property unless at the same time there is displayed an
authorization duly dated and signed by the competent authority of
the High Contracting Party.


       CHAPTER VI: SCOPE OF APPLICATION OF THE CONVENTION

                           Article 18

                  APPLICATION OF THE CONVENTION

1. Apart from the provisions which shall take effect in time of
peace, the present Convention shall apply in the event of
declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise
between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the
state of war is not recognized by one or more of them.

2. The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or
total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party,
even if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance.

3. If one of the Powers in conflict is not a Party to the present
Convention, the Powers which are Parties thereto shall
nevertheless remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They
shall furthermore be bound by the Convention, in relation to the
said Power, if the latter has declared that it accepts the provi-
sions thereof and so long as it applies them.

                           Article 19

           CONFLICTS NOT OF AN INTERNATIONAL CHARACTER

1. In the event of an armed conflict not of an international
character occurring within the territory of one of the High
Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to
apply, as a minimum, the provisions of the present Convention
which relate to respect for cultural property.

2. The parties to the conflict shall endeavor to bring into
force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other
provisions of the present Convention.

3. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization may offer its services to the parties to the
conflict.

4. The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect
the legal status of the parties to the conflict.


            CHAPTER VII: EXECUTION OF THE CONVENTION

                           Article 20

         REGULATIONS FOR THE EXECUTION OF THE CONVENTION

The procedure by which the present Convention is to be applied is
defined in the Regulations for its execution, which constitute an
integral part thereof.


                           Article 21

                        PROTECTING POWERS

The present Convention and the Regulations for its execution
shall be applied with the co-operation of the Protecting Powers
responsible for safeguarding the interests of the Parties to the
conflict.


                           Article 22

                     CONCILIATION PROCEDURE

1. The Protecting Powers shall lend their good offices in all
cases where they may deem it useful in the interests of cultural
property, particularly if there is disagreement between the
Parties to the conflict as to the application or interpretation
of the provisions of the present Convention or the Regulations
for its execution.

2. For this purpose, each of the Protecting Powers may, either at
the invitation of one Party, of the Director-General of the
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization,
or on its own initiative, propose to the Parties to the conflict
a meeting of their representatives, and in particular of the
authorities responsible for the protection of cultural property,
if considered appropriate on suitably chosen neutral territory.
The Parties to the conflict shall be bound to give effect to the
proposals for meeting made to them. The Protecting Powers shall
propose for approval by the Parties to the conflict a person
belonging to a neutral Power or a person presented by the
Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization, which person shall be invited to take
part in such a meeting in the capacity of Chairman.


                           Article 23

                      ASSISTANCE OF UNESCO

1. The High Contracting Parties may call upon the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization for technical
assistance in organizing the protection of their cultural
property, or in connexion with any other problem arising out of
the application of the present Convention or the Regulations for
its execution. The Organization shall accord such assistance
within the limits fixed by its programme and by its resources.

2. The Organization is authorized to make, on its own initiative,
proposals on this matter to the High Contracting Parties.


                           Article 24

                       SPECIAL AGREEMENTS

1. The High Contracting Parties may conclude special agreements
for all matters concerning which they deem it suitable to make
separate provision.

2. No special agreement may be concluded which would diminish the
protection afforded by this present Convention to cultural
property and to the personnel engaged in its protection.


                           Article 25

                 DISSEMINATION OF THE CONVENTION

The High Contracting Parties undertake, in time of peace as in
time of armed conflict, to disseminate the text of the present
Convention and the Regulations for its execution as widely as
possible in their respective countries. They undertake, in
particular, to include the study thereof in their programmes of
military and, if possible, civilian training, so that its
principles are made known to the whole population, especially the
armed forces and personnel engaged in the protection of cultural
property.


                           Article 26

                      TRANSLATIONS, REPORTS

1. The High Contracting Parties shall communicate to one another,
through the Director-General of the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization, the official translations
of the present Convention and of the Regulations for its
execution.

2. Furthermore, at least once every four years, they shall
forward to the Director-General a report giving whatever
information they think suitable concerning any measures being
taken, prepared or contemplated by their respective
administrations in fulfillment of the present Convention and of
the Regulations for its execution.


                           Article 27

                            MEETINGS

1. The Director-General of the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization may, with the approval of
the Executive Board, convene meetings of representatives of the
High Contracting Parties. He must convene such a meeting if at
least one-fifth of the High Contracting Parties so request.

2. Without prejudice to any other functions which have been
conferred on it by the present Convention or the Regulations for
its execution, the purpose of the meeting will be to study
problems concerning the application of the Convention and of the
Regulations for its execution, and to formulate recommendations
in respect thereof.

3. The meeting may further undertake a revision of the Convention
or the Regulations for its execution if the majority of the High
Contracting Parties are represented, and in accordance with the
provisions of Article 39.


                           Article 28

                            SANCTIONS

The High Contracting Parties undertake to take, within the
framework of their ordinary criminal jurisdiction, all necessary
steps to prosecute and impose penal or disciplinary sanctions
upon those persons, of whatever nationality, who commit or order
to be committed a breach of the present Convention.


                        FINAL PROVISIONS

                           Article 29

                            LANGUAGES

1. The present Convention is drawn up in English, French, Russian
and Spanish, the four texts being equally authoritative.

2. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization shall arrange for translations of the Convention
into the other official languages of its General Conference.


                           Article 30

                            SIGNATURE

The present Convention shall bear the date of 14 May, 1954 and,
until the date of 31 December, 1954, shall remain open for
signature by all States invited to the Conference which met at
The Hague from 21 April, 1954 to 14 May, 1954.


                           Article 31

                          RATIFICATION

1. The present Convention shall be subject to ratification by
signatory States in accordance with their respective
constitutional procedures.

2. The instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the
Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization.


                           Article 32

                            ACCESSION

>From the date of its entry into force, the present Convention
shall be open for accession by all States mentioned in Article 30
which have not signed it, as well as any other State invited to
accede by the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization. Accession shall be effected
by the deposit of an instrument of accession with the
Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization.

                           Article 33

                        ENTRY INTO FORCE

1. The present Convention shall enter into force three months
after five instruments of ratification have been deposited.

2. Thereafter, it shall enter into force, for each High
Contracting Party, three months after the deposit of its
instrument of ratification or accession.

3. The situations referred to in Articles 18 and 19 shall give
immediate effect to ratifications or accessions deposited by the
Parties to the conflict either before or after the beginning of
hostilities or occupation. In such cases the Director-General of
the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization shall transmit the communications referred to in
Article 38 by the speediest method.


                           Article 34

                      EFFECTIVE APPLICATION

1. Each State Party to the Convention on the date of its entry
into force shall take all necessary measures to ensure its
effective application within a period of six months after such
entry into force.

2. This period shall be six months from the date of deposit of
the instruments of ratification or accession for any State which

deposits its instrument of ratification or accession after the
date of the entry into force of the Convention.


                           Article 35

             TERRITORIAL EXTENSION OF THE CONVENTION

Any High Contracting Party may, at the time of ratification or
accession, or at any time thereafter, declare by notification
addressed to the Director-General of the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, that the
present Convention shall extend to all or any of the territories
for whose international relations it is responsible. The said
notification shall take effect three months after the date of its
receipt.


                           Article 36

                RELATION TO PREVIOUS CONVENTIONS

1. In the relations between Powers which are bound by the
Conventions of The Hague concerning the Laws and Customs of War
on Land (IV) and concerning Naval Bombardment in Time of War
(IX), whether those of 29 July, 1899 or those of 18 October,
1907, and which are Parties to the present Convention, this last
Convention shall be supplementary to the aforementioned
Convention (IX) and to the Regulations annexed to the
aforementioned Convention (IV) and shall substitute for the
emblem described in Article 5 of the aforementioned Convention
(IX) the emblem described in Article 16 of the present
Convention, in cases in which the present Convention and the
Regulations for its execution provide for the use of this
distinctive emblem.

2. In the relations between Powers which are bound by the
Washington Pact of 15 April, 1935 for the Protection of Artistic
and Scientific Institutions and of Historic Monuments (Roerich
Pact) and which are Parties to the present Convention, the latter
Convention shall be supplementary to the Roerich Pact and shall
substitute for the distinguishing flag described in Article III
of the Pact the emblem defined in Article 16 of the present
Convention, in cases in which the present Convention and the
Regulations for its execution provide for the use of this
distinctive emblem.


                           Article 37

                          DENUNCIATION

1. Each High Contracting Party may denounce the present
Convention, on its own behalf, or on behalf of any territory for
whose international relations it is responsible.

2. The denunciation shall be notified by an instrument in
writing, deposited with the Director-General of the United
Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

3. The denunciation shall take effect one year after the receipt
of the instrument of denunciation. However, if, on the expiry of
this period, the denouncing Party is involved in an armed
conflict, the denunciation shall not take effect until the end of
hostilities, or until the operations of repatriating cultural
property are completed, whichever is the later.


                           Article 38

                          NOTIFICATIONS

The Director-General of the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization shall inform the States
referred to in Articles 30 and 32, as well as the United Nations,
of the deposit of all the instruments of ratification, accession
or acceptance provided for in Articles 31, 32 and 39 and of the
notifications and denunciations provided for respectively in
Articles 35, 37 and 39.


                           Article 39

        REVISION OF THE CONVENTION AND OF THE REGULATIONS
                        FOR ITS EXECUTION

1. Any High Contracting Party may propose amendments to the
present Convention or the Regulations for its execution. The text
of any proposed amendment shall be communicated to the
Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization who shall transmit it to each High
Contracting Party with the request that such Party reply within
four months stating whether it:

     (a) desires that a Conference be convened to consider the
proposed amendment;

     (b) favours the acceptance of the proposed amendment without
a Conference; or

     (c) favours the rejection of the proposed amendment without
a Conference.

2. The Director-General shall transmit the replies, received
under paragraph 1 of the present Article, to all High Contracting
Parties.

3. If all the High Contracting Parties which have, within the
prescribed time-limit, stated their views to the Director-General
of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization, pursuant to paragraph 1 (b) of this Article, inform
him that they favour acceptance of the amendment without a
Conference, notification of their decision shall be made by the
Director-General in accordance with Article 38. The amendment
shall become effective for all the High Contracting Parties on
the expiry of ninety days from the date of such notification.

4. The Director-General shall convene a Conference of the High
Contracting Parties to consider the proposed amendment if
requested to do so by more than one-third of the High Contracting
Parties.

5. Amendments to the Convention or to the Regulations for its
execution, dealt with under the provisions of the preceding
paragraph, shall enter into force only after they have been
unanimously adopted by the High Contracting Parties represented
at the Conference and accepted by each of the High Contracting
Parties.

6. Acceptance by the High Contracting Parties of amendments to
the Convention or to the Regulations for its execution, which
have been adopted by the Conference mentioned in paragraphs 4 and
5, shall be effected by the deposit of a formal instrument with
the Director-General of the United Nations Edu-
cational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

7. After the entry into force of amendments to the present
Convention or to the Regulations for its execution, only the text
of the Convention or of the Regulations for its execution thus
amended shall remain open for ratification or accession.


                           Article 40

                          REGISTRATION

In accordance with Article 102 of the Charter of the United
Nations, the present Convention shall be registered with the
Secretariat of the United Nations at the request of the
Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization.

IN FAITH WHEREOF the undersigned, duly authorized, have signed
the present Convention.

DONE at The Hague, this fourteenth day of May, 1954, in a single
copy which shall be deposited in the archives of the United
Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and
certified true copies of which shall be delivered to all the
States referred to in Articles 30 and 32 as well as to the United
Nations.

  

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Revised: October 23, 2001