Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The UK Intends to Ratify the Hague Convention

© David Gill
The Queen's Speech today highlighted legislation for the year ahead (BBC May 18, 2016). This highlights:
Cultural Property Bill (UK-wide) 
  • The UK to ratify the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the event of armed conflict
  • Dealing in cultural property illegally exported from occupied territory to be made criminal offence 
  • Property protected under the convention and its protocols to be identified by new Blue Shield
The briefing notes for the speech identify this as the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill. It identifies the main elements as:
The Bill would introduce a number of measures that would enable the UK to ratify the [Hague] Convention and its two Protocols: 
● Introduction of offences designed to protect cultural property in the event of an armed conflict at home and abroad. These include an offence of making such property the object of attack. 
● Introduction of the Blue Shield as an emblem that signifies cultural property protected under the Convention and its two Protocols. 
● Introduction of an offence of dealing in cultural property that has been illegally exported from occupied territory and a provision for such property to be seized and returned to the occupied territory after the close of hostilities, where appropriate. 
● Introduction of immunity from seizure for cultural property in the UK which is being transported for safekeeping during a conflict between two or more other states.
Clearly some of the driving force behind the proposed legislation relates to the present conflict in Syria and northern Iraq.

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