Using case studies from the US, France and the Al Mahdi Case, panellists will explore how military manuals contribute to the implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. They will also consider the question of reparation.
The webinar has been organised by Dr Sophie Vigneron, Co-Director of the Centre for Heritage, together with three Kent Law School LLM students: Zeba Farah Haque, Mathieu Boudry and Valentine Granet.
'US Implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention and the Blue Shield Movement’
Speaker: Professor Patty Gerstenblith, Distinguished Research Professor of Law at DePaul University. Professor Gerstenblith
Abstract: Although the US signed the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict in 1954, it did not ratify the convention until 2009 and still has not ratified either of the two Protocols. The presentation will discuss how the US adopted core principles of the Convention as a matter of customary international law before ratification and now implements the Convention and additional principles drawn from other international legal instruments through the 2016 Department of Defense Law of War Manual. The presentation will also address the role of the Cultural Heritage Coordinating Committee, which coordinates all aspects of US involvement in international cultural heritage protection, establishment of the new Civil Affairs Reserve unit for protection of cultural heritage, and the role of the US Committee of the Blue Shield.
About the speaker: Patty Gerstenblith is a Distinguished Research Professor of Law at DePaul University and Faculty Director of its Center for Art, Museum & Cultural Heritage Law. In 2011, President Obama appointed her to serve as Chair of the President's Cultural Property Advisory Committee in the Department of State on which she had previously served as a Public Representative in the Clinton administration. She is currently the President of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield and chairs the Working Group on Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Objects of Blue Shield International. She publishes and lectures widely in the United States and abroad on the international trade in art and antiquities and the protection of cultural heritage during armed conflict. The fourth edition of her casebook, Art, Cultural Heritage and the Law, was published in 2019. Gerstenblith received her AB from Bryn Mawr College, PhD in art history and anthropology from Harvard University, and JD from Northwestern University.
‘Implementing military measures of the 1954 Hague Convention: French military operations and cultural property protection’
Speaker: Captain Timothée Le Berre, Deputy Director of the French Army Heritage.
Abstract: As a State Party of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property during Armed Conflict, France has faced the challenge of its implementation to protect our common heritage and since 1962, has taken part in 228 military operations around the world. The recent evolution of warfare, and the increased level of threats against cultural property in the past years have resulted in a new opportunity and challenges for the implementation of legal and operational military measures within the French Armed Forces.
In December 2015, the handbook on the protection of cultural property known as “PFT 5.3.2” was adopted. Its purpose is to aid the understanding of military commanders’ responsibilities to protect cultural property during armed conflict. This study is unique to the French Army’s doctrinal corpus and has no equivalent within NATO or the UN. It has been developed in partnership with UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and ICRC, the International Committee of the Red Cross. This handbook is consistent with the final component of the fundamental doctrine documents for Land Forces, FT-03, “Employment of Land Forces in Joint Operations”. It is the only authorized reference document and the only doctrinal reference for French land forces regarding the Protection of Cultural Property. Hence, the French Army has developed a legal and doctrinal approach to operationalise the implementation of Article 7 of the Convention that aims to foster respect for Cultural Property.
In 2018, the French Army Heritage Office started to work on the deployment of military curator in military operations. This project faced the challenge of translating international law into practice in the field. But what does it mean to “Protect” Cultural Property? We are currently working on defining the specific interactions and benefits for military commanders to better take Cultural Property Protection into consideration; to view it not as a legal obstacle, but as a Force-multiplier which contributes to the success of the mission. We also gained substantial experiences with the recent deployment of two military curators, one in Central African Republic and one in Mali. Specific training, advising commanders, civil-military operations, and military cooperation for Cultural Property Protection are some of the ways to develop and promote the spirit of the 1954 Hague Convention.
About the speaker: Captain Tim Le Berre holds a Master’ Degree from the Ecole du Louvre in Art History and Heritage Conservation, and a Master’s Degree from the University of Heidelberg in Military History. He is a military curator, who worked at the German Army Museum in Dresden after his graduation, and joined the French Army in 2013. He commanded a Platoon as a Fire Officer in the Artillery at the 1st Artillery Regiment between 2015 and 2019. He participated in several operational overseas deployments, particularly in Djibouti, Senegal and Mali. Since 2019, he has been serving as the Deputy Curator of the French Army at the French Army Heritage Office in Paris. Since 2018, he has been working on the implementation of Cultural Property Protection in French military operations. He notably led an exploratory mission during his last deployment in Mali. His work is currently taking two forms: the establishment of a French military CPP capacity on the one hand, and a research project about French military operations and Cultural Property Protection as part of a PhD at Newcastle University under the supervision of Professor Peter Stone.
‘The aftermath of the destruction of cultural heritage in war: the reparations of the Al Mahdi case and its monumental challenges’
Speaker: Dr Marina Lostal, Senior Lecturer, University of Essex, School of Law
Abstract: The deliberate destruction of cultural heritage in armed conflict continues to be a common occurrence but, so far, only once has it been the exclusive focus of a case before the International Criminal Court (ICC). This concerned the case against Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi (Al Mahdi) who was convicted to nine years of imprisonment in 2016 for the destruction of ten protected buildings in the World Heritage town of Timbuktu (Mali). At the reparations phase, he was made responsible to pay EUR 2.7 million to repair the harm suffered by the victims of his crime. It was precisely at this reparations phase where the ICC faced an unprecedented question: who are the victims of cultural heritage destruction? This talk will explain the answer given and delve into one of the challenges posed by its implementation, namely, whether or not to carry out memorialisation activities as a symbolic measure.
About the speaker: Marina Lostal is Senior Lecturer at the University of Essex, School of Law. In 2017, she was appointed expert by the ICC in the Al Mahdi Case and, until 2020, she has been involved in the implementation of its reparations. She is the author of the book International Cultural Heritage Law in Armed Conflict (CUP, 2017) and is an elected member of the International Law Association group on Participation in Global Cultural Heritage Governance.
The Centre for Heritage at Kent is an interdisciplinary centre that brings together researchers who contribute to the identification, preservation, and better understanding of heritage to address political, economic, social, educational, and environmental threats. The Centre spans all disciplines to create a space of collaboration to develop new models and tools, including digital ones to modernise and energise the field.
Image credit: French Ministere des Armees. 2019 Tomb of Askia, Gao (Mali), UNESCO World Heritage Site. Captain Le Berre talking with the local person responsible for the heritage