Practice Relating to Rule 40. Respect for Cultural Property
France’s Code of Defence (2004), as amended in 2008, states: “Combatants shall … respect cultural property wherever it is located, unless military necessity imperatively requires the derogation of this rule.”
In the Lingenfelder case
in 1947, the accused was charged with destruction of public monuments. It was shown that in May 1941 the accused, acting upon orders of a German official, used four horses to pull down the monument erected by the inhabitants of Arry, Moselle to fellow citizens who died during the First World War, destroyed the marble slabs bearing the names of the dead, and broke the statue of Joan of Arc. In its judgment, the French Permanent Military Tribunal at Metz held that these acts constituted violations of the laws and customs of war and were punishable war crimes. The accused was convicted under the terms of Article 257 of the French Penal Code which covers in French municipal law the acts prohibited under Article 56 of the 1907 Hague Regulations.