Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 7-1-1997


This article examines the depth of customary international law – that is the accepted practices and norms of the international community – with respect to cultural property, the 1954 Hague Convention and Additional Protocol One, and Department of Defense and Air Force policy. Section I will discuss the evolution toward a customary development of an international law of war to protect cultural properties. This section also notes the basic principles of the law of armed conflict. Section II examines the terms of the 1954 Hague Convention, and Additional Protocol One to the Geneva Convention. Section II also applies the various provisions of the 1954 Convention into historic perspective for the purpose of reviewing its effectiveness. Section III will analyze current Department of Defense and Air Force policy. This article will conclude that the 1954 Hague Convention is a reflection of customary international law, but has never risen per se to the level of customary international law. Moreover, while the United States and its military allies follow, when possible, the basic framework of the 1954 Hague Convention, they are not bound by it. This article will also discuss the pitfalls of Additional Protocol One. To date, the United States and several of its western allies have not signed the additional protocols. Finally, DoD and Air Force policy is analyzed against the backdrop of customary international law.

Publication Title

Air Force Law Review



First Page


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Law Commons



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