RICR No. 854

La protection des biens culturels au Cambodge pendant la période des conflits armés, à travers l'application de la Convention de La Haye de 1954

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AbstractCambodia's unequalled cultural heritage — and in particular Angkor — was not spared the sufferings that country endured from 1970 onwards. Cambodia went through 30 years of conflict, with the Khmer Rouge regime (1975–1979) marking the peak of cruelty and ideological barbarity. These years have left a permanent scar on the country and its memory. Monuments and archaeological sites in particular suffered the consequences of abandonment, vandalism, looting and lack of maintenance, together with the effects of military use. However, despite the traces of vandalism that bear witness to the sites' having been subjected to military occupation, the temples suffered less during the fighting than had been feared. The application of certain of the provisions contained in the Hague Convention for the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict of 14 May 1954 played a crucial role in protecting Cambodian heritage. The Convention constitutes one of the most important tools for the protection of cultural property under international humanitarian law. It clearly helped to protect cultural property by providing the Cambodian authorities with a legal basis and, above all, by legitimizing the action they undertook in this area.

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