Customary International Law and the Rule Against Taking Cultural Property as Spoils of War

17 Chinese Journal of International Law (2018)

Posted: 23 Nov 2021

See all articles by Yue Zhang

Yue Zhang

Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law ; Singapore Management University - School of Law; University of Wisconsin Law School; The American Society of International Law; Southeast University (China)

Date Written: December 14, 2018

Abstract

Many countries seek to regain lost cultural property that was taken as spoils of war during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Some scholars, however, regard such claims as baseless in public international law of this period. This article carries out an intertemporal law analysis and argues that the rule against such plunder was indeed founded in the laws and customs of war in the eighteenth century, became well established in the nineteenth century, and further developed in the twentieth century. If the plundered works exist and are identifiable, restitution is the only remedy for violation of this rule. This article aims to provide the legal grounds for restitution claims and thus provide the first steps for victim States to regain their lost cultural property.

Keywords: customary international law; cultural property; spoils of war; the law of war

Suggested Citation

Zhang, Yue, Customary International Law and the Rule Against Taking Cultural Property as Spoils of War (December 14, 2018). 17 Chinese Journal of International Law (2018), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3780998

Yue Zhang (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law ( email )

Im Neuenheimer Feld 535
69120 Heidelberg, 69120
Germany

Singapore Management University - School of Law ( email )

55 Armenian Street
Singapore, 179943
Singapore

University of Wisconsin Law School ( email )

975 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
United States

The American Society of International Law ( email )

2223 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
United States

Southeast University (China) ( email )

Southeast University Road 2#
Nanjing, Jiangsu Province 210096
China

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