The United States observes the Hague Convention of May 14, 1954. According to the section titles, “Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict,” it clearly states that the occupying force must preserve cultural property in the territory they occupy. The 1954 protocol requires States Parties occupying territory during armed conflict to prevent the exportation of cultural property from that territory. (P1, Art.1)
Furthermore, the amended 1999 Protocol on the same subject, which the United States is a party to as well, provides enhanced protection of cultural property under the criteria in which to be granted “enhanced protection” (P2, Art.10). This article states: (a) It is cultural heritage of the greatest importance to humanity. (b) It is protected by domestic measures that recognize its cultural and historical value and ensure the highest level of protection. (c) It is not used for military purposes or to shield military sites, and the party which has control over the property has formally declared that it will not be so used.
Article (5) of the Hague Convention states that in the case of occupation, “(a) Any High Contracting Party in occupation of the whole or part of the territory of another High Contracting Party shall as far as possible support the competent national authorities of the occupied country in safeguarding and preserving its cultural property. (b) Should it prove necessary to take measures to preserve cultural property situated in occupied territory and damaged by military operations, and should the competent national authorities be unable to take such measures, the Occupying Power shall, as far as possible, and in close co-operation with such authorities, take the most necessary measures of preservation.”
Given the above articles of both conventions and that the United States signed and adheres to it, it is clear that the U.S. Army failed to protect Iraq’s national treasure.