January 8, 2018

On 14 December 2017, the International Journal of Cultural Property published an article co-authored by Marina Lostal (Hague University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands), Kristin Hausler (BIICL and a member of the HEURIGHT team) and Pascal Bongard (Head of the Policy and Legal Unit at Geneva Call, Switzerland), entitled “Armed Non-State Actors and Cultural Heritage in Armed Conflict”.


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 nongovernmental 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.