Zugleich ein Beitrag zur Raub- und Beutekunstproblematik
The author examines state responsibility in case of violations of international law protecting cultural properties in times of both war and peace. First of all, the term “cultural property” has to be defined in order to clarify which objects are protected by international law. The author suggests taking a new approach towards this issue: All objects that meet the specific criteria of cultural properties for society should be protected. The most important function of cultural properties is to represent nations’ cultural identity. Whether this is the case for a specific object has to be verified in accordance with its recognition as such in general or by experts. A breach of international law engages the responsibility of the state to which the illicit act can be imputed. In time of war, the Convention on the Laws and Customs of War on Land imposes major restrictions on the conflicting parties, among them the prohibition of pillage and of attacks on civilian objects. These provisions reflect the customary law that was established during the 19th century, prohibiting any form of misappropriation of cultural property regardless of whether such property has been previously in private or public hands. After World War II, the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict in 1954, as well as its second Protocol added in 1999, completed this régime. These instruments also allow states to place objects of outstanding value under special protection. It is important to note who is entitled...
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