To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what changes he intends to make to military law as a result of the decision to ratify the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict; and if he will make a statement.
1 July 2015
The Government believes that protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict is a priority and remains committed to that task. As announced by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on 21 June 2015, we plan to introduce legislation to ratify the Convention as soon as Parliamentary time allows.
Respect for cultural property is already upheld across the Armed Forces and they currently act within the spirit of the 1954 Convention. This respect is incorporated into military law through the UK Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, our targeting policy, training, and in battle area evaluation and assessments. The Armed Forces must comply with the Rome Statute which makes intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, and historic monuments, provided they are not military objectives, a war crime.