Practice Relating to Rule 40. Respect for Cultural Property
South Africa’s LOAC Teaching Manual (2008) states:
Protection of Marked Cultural and Religious Objects (Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict of 14 May 1954)
- This Convention applies to objects representing cultural value. The cultural value of such objects can either be of a religious or secular nature.
- The term “cultural objects” is defined as the following objects (irrespective of origin or ownership thereof)[:]
- Moveable or immoveable property of great importance to the cultural heritage of every people, such as;
- Monuments of architecture, art or history, whether religious or secular;
- Archeological 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 archeological interest; and
- Scientific collections and important collections of books or archives; or reproductions of these objects;
- Buildings whose main and effective purpose it to preserve or exhibit the abovementioned moveable cultural property, such as museums, large libraries, and depositories of archives, as well as refuges intended to shelter this type of moveable cultural property in time of armed conflict;
- Centres containing a large amount of cultural property as defined in both of the above paragraphs, to be known as “centres containing monuments”. (Article 1)
- Regarding the above, it should be noted that monetary value of any cultural object does not play a role regarding its classification as a cultural object. However, in view of the definition of cultural objects under special protection, as discussed below, monetary value may also be a determining factor to determine special protection. Although it might seem as if the emphasis is on collections or places where large numbers of these objects are concentrated, it does not mean that individual items of a cultural nature are not protected. However, the principle of proportionality, as will be discussed under the topic Means and Methods of Warfare, will play an important role here.
- Nature of the Protection of Cultural Property (Articles 2 to 5 and 7)
- Parties to the Convention have a duty to prohibit, prevent and, if necessary, stop any form of theft, pillage, or misappropriation of and any acts of vandalism directed against cultural property. They must also refrain from requisitioning moveable cultural property situated in the territory of another Party.