A Commentary to International Conventions and European Union Law
IHC Series in Heritage Management
Cultural property law is a rather recent and fast evolving area of law. Its origins date back to the mid nineteenth century when the first legal instruments were drafted.1 It has essentially developed around two main areas of interest: the protection of cultural treasures both in times of war and in times of peace. In the latter case, emphasis was placed on incidents of theft, illegal excavation and export of cultural treasures from their countries of origin. Cultural property law, however, encompasses other interests in culture, such as the protection and preservation of cultural goods in general. Although cultural property has developed as a niche area in international law, it involves national and regional laws too. It is a hybrid area of law, in the sense that it involves principles from various hard core 1 See some examples during this period: The Lieber Code (Francis Lieber, Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field,1863); International Convention with Respect to the Law and Customs of War by Land (Hague II), 29 July 1899; Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague IV), 18 October 1907; Article 238 of the Treaty of Peace between the Allied & Associated Powers and Germany, Versailles, 28 June 1919 and Protocols; Inter-Allied Declaration Against Acts of Dispossession Committed in Territories under Enemy Occupation or Control, London, 5 January 1943; Judgment of the International Military Tribunal, 30 September 1946; Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event...