THE 1907 HAGUE REGULATIONS (ANNEXED TO HAGUE CONVENTION IV AND HAGUE CONVENTION IX)

The 1907 Regulations annexed to the Hague Convention IV of 1907 and Hague Convention IX are widely accepted as international customary law, and are binding on all parties in all conflicts at all times.

There are two key provisions that deal with cultural property protection, dealing with attacks from land, and from the sea. Article 27 of the Regulations annexed to Hague Convention IV states that:

in sieges and bombardments all necessary steps must be taken to spare, as far as possible, buildings dedicated to religion, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not being used at the time for military purposes.”

Article 56 of the Regulations annexed to Hague Convention IV states that:

The property of municipalities, that of institutions dedicated to religion, charity and education, the arts and sciences, even when State property, shall be treated as private property.
All seizure of, destruction or wilful damage done to institutions of this character, historic monuments, works of art and science, is forbidden, and should be made the subject of legal proceedings.

Article 5 of the Hague Convention IX deal with attacks from the sea, and states that:

In bombardments by naval forces all the necessary measures must be taken by the commander to spare as far as possible sacred edifices, buildings used for artistic, scientific, or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick or wounded are collected, on the understanding that they are not used at the same time for military purposes.

Damaged Church with a gun battery in the foreground

The war damaged Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Berlin, 7 July 1945
By Hewitt C H (Sergeant), No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit
Photograph BU 8686 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums, via Wikimedia Commons

Read the 1907 Hague Regulations (annexed to Hague Convention IV) on the ICRC International Humanitarian law website database.

Read the 1907 Hague Regulations (annexed to Hague Convention IX) on the ICRC International Humanitarian law website database.

Learn more about the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

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