Practice Relating to Rule 39. Use of Cultural Property for Military Purposes
The Russian Federation’s Military Manual (1990) states that using cultural property, historical monuments, places of worship and other buildings which represent the cultural or spiritual heritage of a people “in order to gain a military advantage” is a prohibited method of warfare.
The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states:
The prohibited methods of warfare include … destroying cultural property, historic monuments, places of worship and other objects of cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples, as well as using them for the purpose of achieving success in combat operations.
With regard to internal armed conflict, the Regulations states: “It is prohibited to commit any acts of hostility directed against cultural property and to use it in support of the military effort.”
In 1995, in its judgment in the Situation in Chechnya case
, the Russian Federation’s Constitutional Court recognized the applicability of the 1977 Additional Protocol II to the conflict in Chechnya. While noting that amendments to domestic legislation to ensure its application had not been adopted, the Court stated: “Nevertheless, provisions of [the 1977 Additional Protocol II] regarding … protection of cultural [objects] and places of worship are binding on both parties to the armed conflict.”
According to the Report on the Practice of the Russian Federation, the use of cultural property, historic monuments or places of worship that constitute a part of the cultural or spiritual heritage of a people in support of the military effort is a prohibited method of warfare.