Practice Relating to Rule 40. Respect for Cultural Property
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) states:
559. The property of municipalities, that of institutions dedicated to religion, charity and education, the arts and sciences shall be treated as private property.
561. It is prohibited to requisition, destroy or damage cultural property.
908. Any acts of theft, pillage, misappropriation, confiscation or vandalism directed against cultural property are prohibited.
919. The protection of cultural property also extends to a period of occupation. This implies that a party which keeps a territory occupied shall be bound to prohibit, prevent and, if necessary, put a stop to any theft, pillage, confiscation or other misappropriation of, and any acts of vandalism directed against cultural property.
920. It is prohibited to seize, or wilfully destroy or damage institutions dedicated to religion, charity and education, the arts and sciences; the same shall apply to historic monuments and other works of art and science.
The manual further provides that grave breaches of IHL are in particular “extensive destruction of cultural property and places of worship”.
Germany’s IHL Manual (1996) states: “It is prohibited to confiscate, requisition or misappropriate [movable or immovable property of great importance to the cultural heritage of every people].”
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.