Patrimoine culturel de l’humanité


Cultural Heritage - Research Guide International Law

Le patrimoine culturel peut être décrit comme l'héritage culture laissé par les générations précédentes, un héritage que nous souhaitons souvent identifier et préserver parce qu'il renforce notre identité culturelle et notre sentiment d'appartenir à une même communauté. Les communautés et les nations aiment célébrer et préserver leur patrimoine, et les États ont mis en œuvre des mesures de protection des ressources culturelles. Tout au long de l'histoire, l'expression "patrimoine culturel" a revêtu plusieurs significations. Au cours des dernières décennies, la notion de patrimoine culturel - comme celui de culture - a subi des modifications importantes. Le patrimoine culturel se subdivise en patrimoine culturel matériel et en patrimoine culturel immatériel. Le patrimoine culturel matériel comprend les sites archéologiques, les artefacts, les bâtiments, les sites historiques, les monuments, les tombes, et les paysages culturellement importants, tels les lieux sacrés. Le patrimoine culturel immatériel comprend les langues, les récits oraux, les croyances, pratiques, rituels, cérémonies, coutumes, traditions, musiques, danses, artisanats et autres arts. La notion moderne et actuelle de patrimoine culturel est une notion ouverte qui reflète un peu plus la culture vivante que ce n'était le cas auparavant. Afin de maintenir et de garantir l'existence future des sites du patrimoine culturel mondial, il est absolument vital que les États, les organisations intergouvernementales et les acteurs non gouvernementaux disposent d'un droit du patrimoine mondial. La principale organisation à veiller sur le patrimoine mondial est l'Organisation des Nations-Unies pour l'Éducation, la Science et la Culture. L'Unesco a en charge d'aider les États à développer des instruments juridiques pour assurer une meilleure protection du patrimoine mondial et à moderniser et réformer leurs politiques culturelles.

Le présent guide de recherche se veut un point de départ pour mener des recherches relatives au patrimoine mondial. Il fournit les textes juridiques de base disponibles à la Bibliothèque du Palais de la Paix, qu'il s'agisse de documents imprimés ou de documents sous format électronique. La section intitulée "Bibliographie sélective" présente une sélection de manuels, d'articles importants, de bibliographies, de publications périodiques, de publications en série et de documents pertinents. Des liens permettent de rejoindre le catalogue PPL. Le mot-matière de la bibliothèque (mot-clef) Patrimoine culturel est un instrument de recherche dans le catalogue. Une attention particulière est prêtée à nos inscriptions aux bases de données, revues électroniques, livres électroniques et autres ressources électroniques. Enfin, le présent guide de recherche contient des liens vers des sites Internet pertinents et d'autres ressources en ligne présentant un intérêt particulier.


Reference works




Periodicals, serial publications


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  • Silverman, H. (et al., eds.), Heritage in Action: Making the Past in the Present, Cham, Springer, 2017.

    Silverman, H. (et al.)(eds.), Heritage in Action: Making the Past in the Present, Cham, Springer, 2017.

    Cultural heritage is a process, a discourse, a political reality, an economic opportunity, and a social arena as well as sites, objects, and performances. As such heritage “does work.” And as work cultural heritage is a cultural tool that is deployed broadly in society today. Heritage is at work in indigenous and vernacular communities, in urban development and regeneration schemes, in acts of memorialization and counteracts of forgetting, in museums and other spaces of representation, in tourism, in the offices of those making public policy, and all too frequently in conflicts over identity. Thus, heritage is not an inert something to be looked at. Rather, heritage is always in action, bringing the past into the present through historical contingency and manifold strategic appropriations and deployments. This volume emphasizes the active nature of heritage-making, hence heritage in action. The unifying theme of this volume is the way that heritage is active in enabling people to find ways to connect and reconnect with the idea of the past, with places, objects, and events acting as vectors and foci of meaning and activity. We attend to the individuals and communities that mobilize cultural heritage for a range of reasons and through a panoply of actions. We point towards a new, albeit imperfect, practical agenda for heritage in action.

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  • Lostal, M., International Cultural Heritage Law in Armed Conflict: Case Studies of Syria, Libya, Mali, the Invasion of Iraq, and the Buddhas of Bamiyan, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017.

    Lostal, M., International Cultural Heritage Law in Armed Conflict: Case Studies of Syria, Libya, Mali, the Invasion of Iraq, and the Buddhas of Bamiyan, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017.

    This book fills gaps in the exploration of the protection of cultural heritage in armed conflict based on the World Heritage Convention. Marina Lostal offers a new perspective, designating a specific protection regime to world cultural heritage sites, which is so far lacking despite the fact that such sites are increasingly targeted. Lostal spells out this area's discrete legal principles, providing accessible and succinct guidelines to a usually complex web of international conventions. Using the conflicts in Syria, Libya and Mali (among others) as case studies, she offers timely insight into the phenomenon of cultural heritage destruction. Lastly, by incorporating the World Heritage Convention into the discourse, this book fulfills UNESCO's long-standing project of exploring 'how to promote the systemic integration between the [World Heritage] Convention of 1972 and the other UNESCO regimes'. It is sure to engender debate and cause reflection over cultural heritage and protection regimes.

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  • Teilmann-Lock, S., Object of copyright : a conceptual history of originals and copies in literature, art and design, London, Taylor & Francis Group, 2016.

    This book presents an interdisciplinary study of the growth of copyright law, largely based on archival research and on archival materials only recently made available online. The new history here articulated helps to explain why print is no longer today the sole or even the chief object of copyright protection. Taking its key examples from British, French and Danish copyright law, the book begins by exploring how the earliest copyright laws emerged out of the technological understanding of a printed copy, and out of the philosophical notions of originals and copies, tangibles and intangibles.

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  • Blake, J., International Cultural Heritage Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2015.

    Blake, J., International Cultural Heritage Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2015.

    This book provides a comprehensive overview of the development of international cultural heritage law and policy since 1945. It sets out the international (including regional) law currently governing the protection and safeguarding of cultural heritage in peace time, as well as international cultural policy-making. In addition to analysing the relevant legal frameworks, it focuses on the broader policy and other contexts within which and in response to which this law has developed. Following this approach, attention is paid to: introducing international cultural heritage law and its place in international law generally; illicit excavation and the illegal trade in archaeological finds; protection of underwater cultural heritage; the relationship between cultural heritage and the environment; intangible aspects of heritage and their safeguarding; cultural heritage as traditional knowledge and creativity; regional approaches to protection; and human rights issues related to cultural heritage. In addition, newly-emerging topics and challenges are addressed, including the relationship between cultural heritage and sustainable development and the gender dynamics of cultural heritage. Providing both a perfect introduction to cultural heritage law and deeper reflection on its challenges, this book should be invaluable for students, scholars, and practitioners in the field.

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  • Vadi V. and Schneider H.E.G.S. (eds.), Art, cultural heritage and the market: ethical and legal issues, Heidelberg, Springer, 2014.

    Contemporary intersections between art, cultural heritage and the market are complicated by a variety of ethical and legal issues, which often describe complex global relations. Should works of art be treated differently from other goods? What happens if a work of art, currently exhibited in a museum, turns out to have originally been looted? What is the relevant legal framework? What should be done with ancient shipwrecks filled with objects from former colonies? Should such objects be kept by the finders? Should they be returned to the country of origin? This book addresses these different questions while highlighting the complex interplay between legal and ethical issues in the context of cultural governance. The approach is mainly legal but interdisciplinary aspects are considered as well.  The return of cultural artefacts to their legitimate owners, the recovery of underwater cultural heritage and the protection and promotion of artistic expressions are just some of the pressing issues addressed by this book.

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  • Chechi, A., The Settlement of International Cultural Heritage Disputes, New York, NY, Oxford University Press, 2014.

    Chechi, A., The Settlement of International Cultural Heritage Disputes, New York, NY, Oxford University Press, 2014.

    The book focuses on the substance of such interaction, and identifies a number of culturally-sensitive parameters which need to apply (the 'common rules of adjudication'). Ultimately the book argues that existing judicial and non-judicial fora should adopt a cross-fertilizing perspective to use and disseminate jurisprudence containing these common rules of adjudication, to enhance the effectiveness and coherence of their decision-making processes. Finally, it sets out how such an approach would be conducive to the development of a wider body of international cultural heritage law.

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  • Dromgoole, S., Underwater Cultural Heritage and International Law, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013.

    Dromgoole, S., Underwater Cultural Heritage and International Law, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013.

    The UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage 2001, which entered into force internationally in 2009, is designed to deal with threats to underwater cultural heritage arising as a result of advances in deep-water technology. However, the relationship between this new treaty and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is deeply controversial. This study of the international legal framework regulating human interference with underwater cultural heritage explores the development and present status of the framework and gives some consideration to how it may evolve in the future. The central themes are the issues that provided the UNESCO negotiators with their greatest challenges: the question of ownership rights in sunken vessels and cargoes; sovereign immunity and sunken warships; the application of salvage law; the ethics of commercial exploitation; and, most crucially, the question of jurisdictional competence to regulate activities beyond territorial sea limits.

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  • Hide & Seek in the Art World

    When we look at a piece of art, we enter the secret world of art. When we buy a piece of art, we enter the secret world of the art market. When anonymity in the art market is about protecting privacy, it’s a legitimate ground for secrecy. When secrecy paints a picture of a thinly regulated art trade where anonymity is used as playground to shield all kinds of doubtful behaviour and ownership, it is questionable. Law firms play a crucial role in this questionable secrecy in art market. Those law firms service their clients by incorporating and operating shell companies in ‘friendly’ jurisdictions and perform money laundering services as their core business. Law firms boost their client’s assets and inject them into the legal economy, through different money laundering schemes.

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  • The Destruction of the Cathedral of Reims, 1914

    On 20 September 1914, German shellfire burned, damaged and destroyed important parts of the magnificent Cathedral of Reims. The destruction of the Cathedral was generally regarded as an act of sheer vandalism. At the time, it was generally admitted by writers on international law that if the military commander of a besieged place used a church or other building whose immunity had been established, as a stronghold, a storehouse, or an observatory, the besieger might bombard the site without being held responsible for damages caused in consequence of their proximity to other buildings which are liable to bombardment. Even the French war manual itself admitted this.

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  • 60th Anniversary of the UNESCO 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Event of an Armed Conflict

    The 1954 Convention is the basic international treaty formulating rules to protect cultural heritage during armed conflicts. It regulates the conduct of nations during war and military occupation in order to assure the protection of cultural sites, monuments and repositories, including museums, libraries and archives. A Round table meeting in the Peace Palace is organized on Monday, 12 May 2014.

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  • Exhibition of the Roerich Pact: History and Modernity

    On 15 april 2014 the exhibition about the “Roerich Pact: History and Modernity” was officially opened at the Academy building of the Peace Palace. The exhibition is part of a world wide project of the International Centre of the Roerichs and the International Roerich’s Heritage Preservation to promote the Roerich Pact. Exactly 79 years ago, the Roerich Pact was signed in Washington by the representatives of 21 member-states of the Pan-American Union including the USA.

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  • Article 247 of the Treaty of Versailles and the “Mystic Lamb”

    The ‘biography’ of the Ghent Altarpiece, also called the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, reads like a thriller. From the beginning this fascinating work was the object of passionate desire to either possess or destroy it. During the centuries of its existence, the altarpiece witnessed religious upheavals in the Southern Netherlands, came close to being destroyed during these outbreaks of iconoclasm and was damaged when moved to save guard it or when stolen. It endured fires, Napoleon’s looting army and two world wars. Parts of it were stolen, burned, recovered and stolen again and again.
    Article 247 of the Treaty of Versailles and the “Mystic Lamb”

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  • Crimes against Cultural Property in Mali

    In an earlier Peace Palace Library blog (Cultucide in Timbuktu: Shari’a and war crimes) Ingrid Kost wrote that the Islamist Group Ansar (Ed)dine (“Defenders of the Faith”) destroyed some of the age-old mausolea of Sufi Saints in Timbuktu, Mali. One of the major causes of destruction of cultural property (the illicit trading, stealing and looting of cultural property is not covered in this blog) over the ages has been armed conflict. Crimes against cultural property should therefore be addressed properly.

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  • Cultural Property: Art Crimes, Disputes and the Passage of Time

    On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Dutch Restitutions Committee, an International Symposium titled ‘Fair and Just Solutions? Alternatives to Litigation in Nazi-looted Art Disputes, Status Quo And New Developments’ was held in the Academy Building of the Peace Palace on November 27, 2012.

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  • Cultucide in Timbuktu: Shari’a and War Crimes

    Last weekend the Islamist Group Ansar Eddine (“Defenders of the Faith”) destroyed some of the age-old mausolea of Sufi Saints in Timbuktu. Despite the fact that recently on June 28 2012, these mausolea were placed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger.

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  • Doves, Swords, Scales and …

    Doves, scales, olive branches, swords and many ladies justice in paintings, sculptures, tiles and panels adorn the halls of the Peace Palace. These symbols of peace emphasize the essence of the foundation of the building and the institutions it houses. A very fine example is the painting by Albert Besnard (1849-1934): La Paix et la Justice, 1914.

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See also

More Research guides on Droit international public (sujets spéciaux)