Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Event of Armed Conflict and Estonia

The Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two Protocols represent the first international multilateral treaty exclusively focused on the protection of cultural heritage in the event of armed conflict. The Convention covers both movable and immovable property, including architectural, artistic or historical monuments, archaeological sites, works of art, manuscripts, books and other objects of artistic, historical or archaeological interest, as well as scientific collections of all types.

Estonia joined the Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict on February 22, 1995, and the Convention entered into force with regard to Estonia on July 4, 1995.

On the basis of the Government of the Republic Order of December 24, 2004, Estonia joined the First Protocol, which entered into force with regard to Estonia on April 17, 2005.

On the basis of the Government of the Republic Order No 894-k of 24 December 2004, Estonia approved the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention. Second Protocol entered into force with regard to Estonia on 17 April 2005.

Estonian National Joint Commission (NJC) was created in 2005 and it will be reorganized in 2017. The task of the NJC is the national implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention and its Protocols and coordinating different development activities related to this subject. The chairman of the NJC is Undersecretary of the Estonian Ministry of Culture. Other ministries and organisations that are represented: Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of the Interior, Estonian Rescue Board, General Staff of the Defence Forces, Estonian Red Cross, National Heritage Board, Estonian National Archive, Estonian National Museum, Estonian Heritage Society, Estonian National Commission for UNESCO.

In 2008, the Minister of Culture and the Minister of Defence signed the Memorandum of Cooperation in order to ensure the efficient protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflicts and in international peacekeeping missions, suggesting several measures to be implemented already in peacetime.

The contact point in Estonia on 1954 Hague Convention and its two Protocols is Ms Marju Niinemaa, Adviser on Museums from Ministry of Culture (marju.niinemaa @ kul.ee)