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Online Learning Series on Humanitarian Law and Policy - Protection of Cultural Heritage in Armed Conflicts

Online Learning Sessions

Event information



Time and Date

27 September 2017, 03:45 - 05:45 in Geneva
Los Angeles:
06:45 - 08:45
New York:
09:45 - 11:45
Rio De Janeiro:
10:45 - 12:45
02:45 - 04:45
03:45 - 05:45
04:45 - 06:45
04:45 - 06:45
08:45 - 10:45
09:45 - 11:45
11:45 - 01:45
02:45 - 04:45, Sep 28
Time in your location


In addition to the loss of human life and creating severe humanitarian crises, the destruction of cultural heritage has played a prominent role in the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq, and in the recent conflict in Mali. The spotlight was once put on the legal accountability of armed groups when in September 2015 the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor’s Office opened the first ever war crime case for destruction of cultural heritage during the 2012 military coup d’état in Mali, where rebel groups considerably damaged Timbuktu’s cultural sites and historical monuments.

Nonetheless, ICC’s mandate is limited to prosecute crimes occurred in State parties of the Rome Statute or individuals holding the citizenship of a State party. For instance, both Syria and Iraq have not ratified the Rome Statute and war crimes against their cultural heritage can only be prosecuted if the UN Security Council requests it or individuals held responsible are citizens of a State party of the Rome Statute.

In this learning session, Kristin Hausler of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) will provide an introduction to the current legal frameworks that protect cultural heritage during both international and non-international armed conflicts, and how they apply to state actors and non-state armed groups.

Learning objectives

  • Basic understanding of the concepts of cultural heritage and enhanced protection, and the consideration of deliberate cultural cleansing in armed conflicts as a war crime.
  • Knowledge of the primary legal sources for the protection of cultural heritage in armed conflicts and the complementing role of international humanitarian law (IHL).
  • Awareness of the different implications that an international armed conflict or a non-international armed conflict have in the protection of cultural heritage.
  • Understanding of states’ obligations to protect and enforce protection of cultural heritage during armed conflicts and the individual criminal responsibility of non-state armed groups to respect cultural heritage under IHL, international criminal law, and customary law.
  • Familiarity with the application of existing legal frameworks through international criminal mechanisms to prosecute attacks against cultural heritage and the legal gaps encountered when damage has been perpetrated by non-state armed groups or by states that are not parties of the 1954 Hague Convention nor the Rome Statute.

Event time

Thursday, 29 September 2016

New York: 09:00 - 10:00
London: 14:00 - 15:00
Geneva: 15:00 - 16:00
Amman: 16:00 - 17:00
Nairobi: 16:00 - 17:00
Bangkok: 20:00 - 21:00
Manila: 21:00 - 22:00

To see when the live session will take place in your time zone, click here.

Target audience and event access

This event is targeted to humanitarian practitioners in the PHAP membership, but is open to the public. In order to join the event, please register in advance at

Register now

Recommended resources


Kristin Hausler is the Dorset Senior Research Fellow in Public International Law at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law. Since joining the Institute in 2007, she has developed and led several human rights projects advising governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations. At present, she is leading a three-year project on the enforcement of the right to cultural heritage, as well as a follow-up study on the protection of education in the MENA region. She is also a member of the Cultural Heritage Committee of the International Law Association, for which she co-authored a report on the import and export of cultural objects.

She also published a book chapter on cultural heritage in armed conflicts for the War Report, as well as an article on the destruction of cultural heritage by non-State armed groups, which was published in the last issue of the Santander Art & Culture Law Review. She regularly speaks on the topic of cultural heritage, such as at the side event on the destruction of cultural heritage, which took place during the Human Rights Council, in February 2016, in Geneva. Kristin is also a consultant for Geneva Call on a study seeking to engage armed non-state actors in protecting cultural heritage.