Practice Relating to Rule 38. Attacks against Cultural Property
Hungary’s Military Manual (1992) provides that cultural property comprises both religious and secular cultural objects representing the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples. Their protection may only be withdrawn in case of “imperative military necessity” under the authority of a commander.
The manual qualifies “unlawful attacks on cultural objects” as war crimes.
Under Hungary’s Criminal Code (1978), as amended in 1998, “a military commander who, in violation of the rules of international law concerning warfare, carries out military operations which result in heavy damage to … internationally protected cultural property” commits a war crime.
Hungary’s Law on the Protection of Cultural Property (2006) states:
Breach of the international protection of cultural property
(1) Any person who, at the time of war:
a) makes cultural property under international protection the object of attack;
is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment between five to ten years.
(3) The punishment shall be imprisonment between five to fifteen years if the crime referred to in Subsection (1) is committed in connection with cultural property placed under special or enhanced protection by international convention.
In 1998, at the Vienna expert meeting on the revision of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property, Hungary expressed its disapproval of the possible inclusion of the notion of “military necessity” in the Revised Lauswolt Document.