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Armed Non-State Actors and Cultural Heritage in Armed Conflict

  • Marina Lostal (a1), Kristin Hausler (a2) and Pascal Bongard (a3)

This article presents the preliminary findings of a scoping study that Geneva Call is conducting to understand the existing dynamics between armed non-state actors (ANSAs) and cultural heritage. Geneva Call is a Swiss-based non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting the respect of international humanitarian law by ANSAs. The study centres on three case studies—Syria, Iraq, and Mali—on which information has been obtained through desk and field research, interviews with ANSAs operating in those countries, and with leading organizations committed to the protection of cultural heritage, globally or regionally. The article first maps the various attitudes of ANSAs toward cultural heritage, highlighting both positive and negative examples from current practices. Then it analyzes the response of specialized organizations to the impact of ANSAs on cultural heritage and their level of engagement with these actors on cultural heritage issues. Finally, the conclusion offers some tentative recommendations to enhance the respect of cultural heritage by ANSAs in non-international armed conflicts.

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Cunliffe, Emma, Muhesen, Nibal, and Lostal, Marina. 2016. “The Destruction of Cultural Property in the Syrian Conflict: Legal Implications and Obligations.” International Journal of Cultural Property 23, no. 1: 131.
Gerstenblith, Patty. 2009. “Protecting Cultural Heritage in Armed Conflict: Looking Back, Looking Forward.” Cardozo Public Law, Policy and Ethics Journal 7: 677708.
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Lostal, Marina. 2017. International Cultural Heritage Law in Armed Conflict: Case Studies of Syria, Libya, Mali, the Invasion of Iraq, and the Buddhas of Bamiyan. New York: Cambridge University Press.
O’Keefe, Roger. 2006. The Protection of Cultural Property in Armed Conflict. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sivakumaran, Sandesh. 2012. The Law of Non-International Armed Conflict. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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International Journal of Cultural Property
  • ISSN: 0940-7391
  • EISSN: 1465-7317
  • URL: /core/journals/international-journal-of-cultural-property
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