Final Communiqué of the NATO-Partnership for Peace Conference on Cultural Heritage Protection in Wartime and in State of Emergency (1996)

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

In June 1996 a meeting of NATO representatives and representatives of cultural institutions and organizations met in Krakow to discuss means of protection for cultural property during times of conflict and emergency. The resulting communiqué recognizes the value of preparedness and recommends:

  • the publication and distribution of regulatory documents concerning the protection of cultural property;
  • international cooperation and exchange of information regarding experience with implementation of the Hague Convention and other such conventions; and
  • improvements that could be made to the implementation of the Hague Convention, including extending the definition of armed conflict to include internal conflicts and improving markings for protected property.

The document proposes that willful damage of property in violation of the Hague Convention be considered a war crime and mechanisms to facilitate the return of illegally taken cultural property should be improved. NATO is encouraged to work with UNESCO and the International Committee of the Blue Shield to improve readiness and response capability. The participants supported a proposal by Poland for the establishment of an international center for the training of civilian and armed forces personnel to protect cultural property in times of armed conflict and other emergency situations.