The Art of Armed Conflicts: An Analysis of the United States' Legal Requirements towards Cultural Property under the 1954 Hague Convention

64 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2012  

Elizabeth Varner

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Date Written: June 30, 2011

Abstract

Following the looting of the Iraqi National Museum in 2003 countries and scholars around the world called upon the United States of America to ratify the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. Scholars and the media wrote articles indicating the ratification of the 1954 Hague Convention would prevent another looting incident such as the one at the Iraqi National Museum because the United States would have a legal requirement to protect cultural property from third parties, including civilians. Still, other scholars claimed customary international law already imparted a legal requirement upon the United States to protect cultural property from third parties. Some sources, however, indicated that the United States did not have a legal requirement to protect cultural property from third parties under the 1954 Hague Convention. Ambiguities in the 1954 Hague Convention have fostered these inconsistencies in views of the protections afforded to cultural property under the Convention.

On March 13, 2009, the United States Senate ratified the 1954 Hague Convention. Now that the Senate has ratified the Convention, this discrepancy in views of the United States’ legal requirements under the 1954 Hague Convention has taken on increased relevance.

This article outlines the 1954 Hague Convention and defines cultural property under the Convention. This article also considers States' legal requirements towards cultural property before and during armed conflict and illuminates discrepancies in views of the States’ legal requirements towards cultural property during armed conflict. Then, while analyzing key provisions in the 1954 Hague Convention that imparts legal requirements towards cultural property during occupation, this article highlights discrepancies in views of the States’ legal requirements towards cultural property during occupation. Finally, this article analyzes if there should be a duty to protect cultural property from third parties during armed conflict and occupation and if the United States could have a legal requirement outside the 1954 Hague Convention to protect cultural property from third parties during armed conflict and occupation.

Keywords: Hague Convention, Iraq, Museum, Military, Cultural Heritage, Cultural Property, Loot, War, Conflict, Occupation

Suggested Citation

Varner, Elizabeth, The Art of Armed Conflicts: An Analysis of the United States' Legal Requirements towards Cultural Property under the 1954 Hague Convention (June 30, 2011). Creighton Law Review, Vol. 44, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2132059

Elizabeth Varner (Contact Author)

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law ( email )

United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
137
Rank
169,262
Abstract Views
574