World Intellectual Property Organization

Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict

Andorra

"Signed on behalf of the Bishop of Urgel, co-prince of Andorra. The French Minister of Foreign Affairs by the communication dated 5 August 1954, made it known that the President of the French Republic, co-prince of Andorra, considered that signature as null and void, the French State alone being empowered to represent the Andorran interests on an international level. The Bishop of Urgel, by letter of 6 December 1954, replied to this communication, calling attention to his position as a sovereign co-prince."

Belarus

Declaration made upon signature:
"The representative of the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic noted that various provisions included in the Convention and Regulations weaken these agreements with regard to the conservation and defense of cultural property in the event of armed conflict and that, for that reason, he could not express his satisfaction."

China

"Signed on behalf of China by its representatives to the United Nations and UNESCO at the time of signature.
China is an original Member of the United Nations, the Charter having been signed and ratified in its name, on 26 and 28 September 1945, respectively, by the Government of the Republic of China, which continuously represented China in the United Nations until 25 October 1971.
China is likewise an original Member of UNESCO, the Constitution having been signed and accepted in its name by the Government of the Republic of China which continuously represented China in UNESCO until 29 October 1971.
On 25 October 1971, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted Resolution 2758(XXVI), which reads as follows:
''The General Assembly,
'Recalling the principles of the Charter of the United Nations,
'Considering that the restoration of the lawful rights of the People's Republic of China is essential both for the protection of the Charter of the United Nations and for the cause that the United Nations must serve under the Charter,
'Recognizing that the representatives of the Government of the People's Republic of China are the only lawful representatives of China to the United Nations and that the People's Republic of China is one of the rive permanent members of the Security Council,
'Decides to restore all its rights to the People's Republic of China and to recognize the representatives of its Government as the only legitimate representatives of China to the United Nations, and to expel forthwith the representatives of Chiang Kai-chek from the place which they unlawfully occupy at the United Nations and in all the organizations related to it.
' The establishing of the Government of the People's Republic of China, occurring on 1 October 1949, was made known to the United Nations on 18 November 1949. Various proposals were formulated between that date and that of the adoption of the above-quoted resolution with a view to changing the representation of China at the United Nations, but these proposals were not adopted.

On 29 October 1971, the Executive Board of UNESCO, at its 88th session, adopted the following decision (88 EX/Decision 9):
'The Executive Board, taking into account the resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 25 October 1971, whereby the representatives of the Peop1e's Republic of China were recognized as the only 1awful representatives of China to the United Nations,
Recalling resolution 396 adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at its fifth regular session on 14 December 1950 recommending that "the attitude adopted by the General Assembly" on the question of the representation of a Member State "should be taken into account in other organs of the United
Nations and in the Specialized Agencies".
Decides that, from today onwards, the Government of the People's Republic of China is the on1y legitimate representative of China in UNESCO and invites the ' Director-General to act accordingly.'
On 29 September 1972 the Secretary-General of the United Nations received the following communication from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China (translation):
As concerns the multilateral treaties which the defunct Chinese Government signed, ratified or acceded to before the establishing of the Government of the People's Republic of China, my government will examine their terms before deciding, in the light of circumstances, whether they should or not be recognized.
As from 1 October 1949; day of the founding of the People's Republic of China, the Chiang Kai-chek clique has no right to represent China. Its signing and ratifying of any multilateral treaty, or its acceding to any multilateral treaty, by usurping the name of "China", are aIl illegal and void. My government will study these multilateral treaties before deciding, in the light of circumstances, whether it is or is not appropriate to accede to them.'
On depositing the instrument of acceptance of the Agreement, the Government of Romania stated that it considered the above-mentioned signature as null and void, inasmuch as the only Government competent to assume obligations on behalf of China and to represent China at the international level is the Government of the People's Republic of China.
In a letter addressed to the Secretary-General in regard to the above-mentioned declaration, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of China to the United Nations stated: 'The Republic of China, a sovereign State and member of the United Nations, attended the Fifth Session of the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, contributed to the formulation of the Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific and Cultural Materials and duly signed the said Agreement on 22 November 1950 at the Interim Headquarters of the United Nations at Lake Success. Any statement relating to the said Agreement that is incompatible with or derogatory to the legitimate position of the Government of the Republic of China shall in no way affect the rights and obligations of the Republic of China as a signatory of the said Agreement."

Germany

Declaration made on May 2nd, 1962:
"As, however…ratification will take some time, owing to the federal character of the Federal Republic of Germany… in accordance with Article 18(3) of the above-mentioned Convention…the Federal Republic of Germany accepts and applies the provisions of the said Convention…accordingly, under the above-mentioned Article 18(3), all other Parties to the said Convention are thereby bound in relation to the Federal Republic of Germany."

Norway

Reservation made upon ratification:
"…that restitution of cultural property, in accordance with the terms of Sections I and II of the Protocol, can be demanded only after the expiration of a period of 20 years, after the date on which the property in question came into the possession of a good-faith holder."
Bulgaria, Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Chad, Czechoslovakia, India, Italy, Madagascar, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Spain, United Arab Republic and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics issued observations as regards this reservation.
By a note verbale dated 3 October 1973, Norway announced its decision, effective 24 August 1979, to withdraw that reservation.

Russian Federation

Declaration made upon signature:
"The representative of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics noted that various provisions included in the Convention and Regulations weaken these agreements with regard to the conservation and defense of cultural property in the event of armed conflict and that, for that reason, he could not express his satisfaction."

Sudan

Declaration made on October 18, 1972:
"In view of the fact that it considers that the Royal Government of the National Union of Cambodia, of Samdeck Norodom Sihanouk is the only Government empowered to represent the Kingdom of Cambodia, it follows that the Government of the Democratic Republic of Sudan does not recognize the right of the Phnom-Penh regime to enter into international obligations on behalf of the Kingdom of Cambodia."

Ukraine

Declaration made upon signature:
"The representative of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic noted that various provisions included in the Convention and Regulations weaken these agreements with regard to the conservation and defense of cultural property in the event of armed conflict and that, for that reason, he could not express his satisfaction."

United States of America

The letter of transmission of this instrument contained the following request:
"The United States of America requests that this instrument of ratification be given immediate effect in accordance with the relevant provisions of Article 33(3) of that Convention."

Declaration made upon ratification:
"(1)It is the understanding of the United States of America that “special protection”, as defined in Chapter II of the Convention, codifies customary international law in that it, first, prohibits the use of any cultural property to shield any legitimate military targets from attack and, second, allows all property to be attacked using any lawful and proportionate means, if required by military necessity and notwithstanding possible collateral damage to such property.
(2)It is the understanding of the United States of America that any decision by any military commander, military personnel, or any other person responsible for planning, authorizing, or executing military action or other activities covered by this Convention shall only be judged on the basis of that person’s assessment of the information reasonably available to the person at the time the person planned, authorized, or executed the action under review, and shall not be judged on the basis of information that comes to light after the action under review was taken.
(3)It is the understanding of the United States of America that the rules established by the Convention apply only to conventional weapons, and are without prejudice to the rules of international law governing other types of weapons, including nuclear weapons.
(4)It is the understanding of the United States of America that, as is true for all civilian objects, the primary responsibility for the protection of cultural objects rests with the Party controlling that property, to ensure that it is properly identified and that it is not used for unlawful purposes."

 

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