Practice Relating to Rule 39. Use of Cultural Property for Military Purposes
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) provides:
903. Cultural property shall neither directly nor indirectly be used in support of military efforts.
905. … It is also prohibited to expose cultural property, its immediate surroundings and the appliances in use for its protection to the danger of destruction or damage by using them for other purposes than originally intended.
906. An exception to this rule shall be permissible only in cases of imperative military necessity. The decision is to be taken by the competent military commander …
907. The parties to the conflict shall take sufficient precautions to prevent cultural property from being used for military purposes. Example: On 19 June 1944 all military installations were removed from Florence by order of the German authorities so as to prevent this abundant city of art from becoming a theatre of war. The broad avenues surrounding the city of Florence on its former fortifications were regarded as a boundary which was not to be crossed by military transport.
Germany’s IHL Manual (1996) states: “It is prohibited to use [movable or immovable property of great importance to the cultural heritage of every people] in support of the military effort.”
Germany’s Soldiers’ Manual (2006) states:
The Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict of 14 May 1954 provides that movable or immovable property of great importance to the cultural heritage of every people (e.g. monuments of architecture, art or history, places of religious worship, books, scientific collections) may neither be attacked nor damaged in any other way.
It is further prohibited to use such objects in support of the military effort, to misappropriate them, requisition them or destroy them. Exceptions are permissible only in cases of imperative military necessity.