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Subject: Hague Convention

Hague Convention

From: Jean D. Portell <jeandp>
Date: Friday, January 29, 1999
Hague Convention goes to U.S. Senate

Armed conflict and the protection of cultural property appear to be
contradictory concepts. Yet there exists an international treaty
whose sole purpose is to consider these together in a grand act
of--we might say--preventive conservation.

A notice in the Congressional Record of January 6, 1999,  states
that President William J. Clinton has sent the Hague Convention to
the United States Senate "for the advice and consent of the Senate
to ratification".

The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the
Event of Armed Conflict, and the accompanying Hague Protocol, were
concluded on May 14, 1954 and entered into force on August 7, 1956.
More than 80 countries are party to it. Although the United States
signed the Convention on the same day it was concluded, it was not
submitted to the Senate for ratification until now.

The following quote is from the description published in the January
6, 1999, Congressional Record:

   "[The Hague Convention] establishes a regime for special
    protection of a highly limited category of cultural property. It
    provides both for preparations in peacetime for safeguarding
    cultural property against foreseeable effects of armed
    conflicts, and also for respecting such property in time of war
    or military occupation. In conformity with the customary
    practice of nations, the protection of cultural property is not
    absolute. If cultural property is used for military purposes, or
    in the event of imperative military necessity, the protection
    afforded by the Convention is waived, in accordance with the
    Convention's terms. Further, the primary responsibility for the
    protection of cultural property rests with the party controlling
    that property, to ensure that the property is properly
    identified and that it is not used for an unlawful purpose. The
    Hague Protocol, which was concluded on the same day as the
    Convention, but is a separate agreement, contains provisions
    intended to prevent the exportation of cultural property from
    occupied territory...."

I first heard about the Hague Convention when it was mentioned by
invited speakers during the AIC Annual Meeting (on emergency
preparedness) held in June 1998 in Arlington, Virginia. Since I
expect to follow the proceedings of the U.S. Senate regarding the
Convention, I will report the outcome on this DistList.

Jean D. Portell
13 Garden Place
Brooklyn, New York 11201

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:62
                 Distributed: Friday, January 29, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-62-001
Received on Friday, 29 January, 1999

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