Type of entity
Authorized form of name
Protocol for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict
Parallel form(s) of name
- Protocole pour la protection des biens culturels en cas de conflit armé
- Protocolo para la protección de los bienes culturales en caso de conflicto armado
- Протокол о защите культурных ценностей в случае вооруженного конфликта
- بروتوكول بشأن حماية الممتلكات الثقافية في حالة نزاع مسلح
Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules
Other form(s) of name
Identifiers for corporate bodies
Dates of existence
1954 - Present
The Protocol for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict was adopted with the 1954 Hague Convention and entered into force in August 1956 to address the protection of movable cultural property. A response to Nazi Germany’s removal of artworks and antiquities from countries it occupied, the Protocol prohibits a State Party that is occupying the territory of any state from seizing, exporting or selling its cultural property. If cultural property has been exported, the Protocol obliges the State Party to return it to its original territory and to the formerly occupied authorities.
While the articles of the Protocol were originally meant to be included in the main Convention, some States opposed the idea as they felt the articles addressed matters of private law (O'Keefe and Prott, p.18). Of the 134 countries that are State Parties to the 1954 Hague Convention, 111 of them are also Parties to the Protocol.
Protocol adopted at a diplomatic conference convened by UNESCO.
Functions, occupations and activities
State Parties to the Protocol agree to abide by the following obligations:
- Each High Contracting Party undertakes to prevent the exportation, from a territory occupied by it during an armed conflict, of cultural property as defined in Article I of the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, signed at The Hague on 14 May 1954.
- Each High Contracting Party undertakes to take into its custody cultural property imported into its territory either directly or indirectly from any occupied territory. This shall either be effected automatically upon the importation of the property or, failing this, at the request of the authorities of that territory
- Each High Contracting Party undertakes to return, at the close of hostilities, to the competent authorities of the territory previously occupied, cultural property which is in its territory, if such property has been exported in contravention of the principle laid down in the first paragraph. Such property shall never be retained as war reparations.
- The High Contracting Party whose obligation it was to prevent the exportation of cultural property from the territory occupied by it, shall pay an indemnity to the holders in good faith of any cultural property which has to be returned in accordance with the preceding paragraph.
Mandates/sources of authority
The First Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention was adopted in the Final Act of the Intergovernmental Conference on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.
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Rules and/or conventions used
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Dates of creation, revision and deletion
Created by Hazel Koh, 27 July 2023.
First Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention. Available at: https://en.unesco.org/protecting-heritage/convention-and-protocols/first-protocol.
Nafziger, J. A. R., Kirkwood Paterson, R and Dundes Renteln, A. 2010. Protection of cultural heritage in preparation for, during, and after armed conflict. Cultural Law: International, Comparative, and Indigenous. New York, Cambridge University Press, pp. 349-351.
O’Keefe, P. J. and Prott, L. V. 2011. Cultural Heritage Conventions and Other Instruments. Crickadarn, Institute of Art and Law.
O’ Keefe, R. 2006. The 1954 Hague Convention and First Hague Protocol. The Protection of Cultural Property in Armed Conflict. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp. 92-201.
Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, The Hague, 14 May 1954. Available at: https://en.unesco.org/sites/default/files/1954_Protocol_EN_2020.pdf.