AFKAR IDEAS no 43 2014 in French p 1

AFKAR IDEAS no 43 2014 in French p 2

AFKAR IDEAS no 43 2014 in French p 3

AFKAR IDEAS no 43 2014 in French p 4

Interview Joris Kila Belgium Television link to video:

Cultureel erfgoed als doelwit in oorlogsconflict

Het Midden-Oosten is de bakermat van de beschaving, maar ook dat rijke culturele erfgoed wordt geviseerd. "Kerken, moskeeën, ziggurats hebben ook een symbolische waarde voor de bewoners", zegt archeoloog Joris Kila.

Terzake - 02/09/14 di 02/09/2014 - 20:24

In print expected end 2014

Brill publishers Hardback ISBN: 9789004279711
Soft cover: ISBN13: 9789004280533

In this picture taken on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, the interior of the Leuven University Library in Leuven, Belgium. The German invading forces set the heart of Leuven alight during the early days of World War I, paying special attention to the gem of learning and history, the university library. The library was later rebuilt with donations coming from around the world. (Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Associated Press)

Laatste nieuws

25. aug, 2014
25. aug, 2014

By Associated Press August 24 at 7:01 AM

LEUVEN, Belgium — A century after German forces burned down the Leuven University library, Marie Legrand still has visions of the horrid scene. Even the scent of smoke she smelled as a 3-year-old stings in her mind to this day.

“When I close my eyes like I do now, I see the whole city in front of me, and the flames,” she told The Associated Press at her home, fanning invisible flames with her frail hands.

“The old Leuven, the old town, the old history. In short: History itself all went up in flames,” she said of the fire that invading German forces started on Aug. 25, 1914, targeting the university library in the heart of the Belgian town east of Brussels.

World War I had started weeks earlier and Belgium had slowed Germany’s march on France much more than expected. German irritation turned to anger, then to atrocities.

The destruction of the university library served little strategic purpose beyond ruining what people held dear — a practice that continues to thrive today, especially in the Middle East and Africa, where roaming rebels and defiant dictators are robbing the world of some of the highlights of human history.

“The strategy is destroying the identity of a community,” said Leuven University archivist Mark Derez.

The torching of the Leuven University library drew international condemnation and was widely used in propaganda to purport that Germany lacked any civilized standards. Still, as shocking as it was a century ago, its example appears to have done nothing to check the practice of cultural vandalism during wartime.

“It is getting worse,” said Joris Kila, a heritage protection expert. “And strangely enough, the worse it gets, the less money and determination there is to do something about it.”

The 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict makes it mandatory for signatory nations to ensure that such destruction does not happen. But many of today’s conflicts rage in states with weak central governments and rebel forces that answer only to themselves.

In March 2001, the Taliban in Afghanistan dynamited the huge Bamiyan Buddhas, deeming them idolatrous and anti-Muslim. It was one of the regime’s most widely condemned acts.

Two years ago, Muslim extremists destroyed key parts of the heritage of the ancient Malian city of Timbuktu, razing tombs and burning ancient documents, saying they acted on divine orders. Similar actions have happened in Somalia and continue in Iraq, where the Islamic State group is destroying the holy shrines of other religions.

“You try to demoralize a local population. It is an attack on the identity of the population. It is an attack on the collective memory,” Kila said.

In today’s Leuven, the rebuilt university library displays a few of the charred books, sealed in glass cases and “serving as a kind of evidence for the German burning of the library,” Derez said.

The printed letters that once combined into sentences and books of wisdom are now blackened beyond recognition, gone at the edges, curled up at the center.

Among the library’s 300,000 lost books and manuscripts was the 16th century “Atlas of the human anatomy” by Andreas Vesalius, the founding father of that branch of science, a gift to the university from Emperor Charles V.

Derez said much evidence suggests that German forces wilfully destroyed the library to demoralize the people of Leuven, at the time a town of 42,500. The fires ultimately razed 1,081 of its 8,920 buildings.

“That kind of terror has something to do with reducing, assuring a minimum of civilian resistance during the invasion and a maximum of civilian cooperation during the occupation,” he said.

It certainly worked on Legrand.

“Just talking about ‘Germans’ scared the kids,” she said. To this day, at 103 years of age, Legrand said that “some residue of worry always remains.”

When someone says they are German, it still gives her a small shock, she said.

“It should not be. But that’s how it is,” Legrand said.

If it leaves such an impression a century later, it is hardly surprising that demolishing monuments and cultural venues remains such a popular strategy. Even though individuals may run the risk of being prosecuted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for such crimes, this rarely happens, Kila said.

“They all make promises, but at the end nobody puts their money where their mouth is by going out to arrest these people,” he said.

AP photographer Virginia Mayo and videographer Mark Carlson in Leuven contributed to this report.

Raf Casert can be followed on Twitter at

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

5. aug, 2014

Dit is de Dag Radio 1 interview 4 augustus 2014

Listen to the radio broadcast (inDutch): Dit is de Dag 4 Augustus 2014 Radio 1

Archeoloog trekt naar oorlogsgebied

6. jul, 2014



Met het uitspreken van de 26ste Reuvenslezing spoort Kila de Nederlandse archeoloog aan bij te dragen aan een wereldwijde zorg voor erfgoed. Kila’s stelling wees proactief, tref voorbereidingen in vredestijd is op dit moment actueler dan ooit gezien de verwoestingen van erfgoed in Egypte, Syrië, Mali en helaas ook weer Irak. Belangrijke organisaties die onder andere de uitvoering van het Haags verdrag van 1954 moeten waarborgen zijn gevestigd in Den Haag. Erfgoed staat voor vrede (wederopbouw, identiteit) en veiligheid (het is wrang maar waar: veel gewapende conflicten worden gefinancierd met de illegale verkoop van erfgoed). Den Haag als stad van vrede en veiligheid lijkt dus bij uitstek de plaats om de bescherming van culturele eigendommen tijdens conflicten daadwerkelijk tot speerpunt te maken.

1. jul, 2014

Military Involvement in Cultural Property Protection:

An Overview. By Joris D. Kila and Christopher V. Herndon in Joint Forces Quaterly
JFQ 74, 3rd Quarter 2014.

2. jun, 2014

Cultural Property Crime: An Overview and Analysis on Contemporary Perspectives and Trends. Expected end of 2014.

10. apr, 2014

Militairen staan niet te dringen om advies aan te nemen van stoffige professoren

‘Militairen staan niet te dringen om advies aan te nemen van stoffige professoren. Maar ik zeg altijd: ‘Je kunt de geschiedenis van het brandstichten niet bestuderen zonder de brandweer erbij te betrekken.’ Zo simpel is het.’
DR. JORIS KILA, archeoloog en reserve-luitenant-kolonel, legt uit dat het niet altijd even makkelijk is voor een erfgoedbeschermer, in Tubantia.


5. mrt, 2014

Interview Joris Kila met Rudi Vranckx in Leuven tijdens de tentoonstelling RAVAGE

RAVAGE Kunst en cultuur in tijden van conflict ; een tentoonstelling van
M - Museum Leuven
Vanderkelenstraat 28
3000 Leuven» 20.03.14 >< 01.09.14

zie ook:

24/04/2014 - 20:00

Joris Kila, Nederlands archeoloog en erfgoeddeskundige, gaat in gesprek met Rudi Vranckx over zijn pogingen oorlogsschade aan kunst en cultuur op te meten, of zelfs te voorkomen.
Van de beeldenstorm in Mali waar jihadistische moslimrebellen eeuwenoude symbolen en culturele eigendommen vernietigden, tot één van de grootste kunstroven aller tijden tijdens de revolutie in Libië: de gestolen schat van Benghazi.

Joris Kila, Nederlands archeoloog en erfgoeddeskundige, zet zich al jaren in om oorlogsschade aan kunst en cultuur te voorkomen. Hij meet overal ter wereld de schade op aan het cultureel erfgoed en probeert erger te voorkomen. Meer nog, hij zet samenwerkingsverbanden op tussen deskundigen en militairen, waar UNESCO en het verdrag van Den Haag (1954) tekort schieten.

Tijd voor een gesprek met deze autoriteit die de brandhaarden in Irak, Egypte, Libië en Mali trotseerde. Rudi Vranckx achterhaalt in een tête à tête de drijfveren en resultaten van Kila’s zoektocht.

Interview Joris Kila mit Kölner Stadtanzeiger 20-2-2014

20. feb, 2014

Interview Joris Kila mit Kölner Stadtanzeiger 20-2-2014,15189520,26298304.html

Just before going in the desert to Timbuktu Joris Kila and armed escort of the Malian armed forces (c) JKila

The team visited the Great Mosque of Djenne on the way back from Timbuktu on 18 January 2014 (c) Joris Kila

Assessment mission to Mali

26. jan, 2014

IMCuRWG and ANCBS mission to Mali

The objective of the mission was to evaluate the current situation of Cultural Heritage (including monuments, archaeological and historical sites and archives) in Northern Mali after the recent armed conflict. The mission took place from 12 to 20 January 2014. The team members: Joris Kila, Karl von Habsburg, Christo Grosev and Siratigui Sogoba managed to go over land from Bamako all the way to Timbuktu. The official report can be found on:

Personal Webpage Joris Kila

For information on lectures, presentations, CPP training, publications etc. email:

Voor meer informatie over lezingen, presentaties, CPP training , publicaties etc. email:  


A nation that draws too broad a difference between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking being done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.

Deze opmerking van de Atheense geschiedschrijver en legeraanvoerder Thucydides (ca. 460 – 400 voor Chr.) is treurig actueel.

Krijgsgewoel in de Balkan en, meer recent, in het Midden Oosten brengt een veelheid aan schade teweeg. Zonder het menselijk leed over het hoofd te zien, legt internationaal erfgoed-deskundige Joris Kila in woord/geschrift en door bezoeken aan oorlogsgebieden de vinger op een bijzondere zere plek.

Hoewel er internationale afspraken zijn gemaakt (Haagsch Verdrag van 1954 betreffende de bescherming van cultureel erfgoed in geval van gewapend conflict) gaat militaire activiteit nog steeds gepaard met beschadiging/vernietiging van erfgoed. Irak, Libië, Syrië, Egypte, Mali: de laatste jaren is in deze landen, direct of indirect ten gevolge van militair- en politiegeweld, erfgoed geplunderd en vernield. Archeologische sites, musea en zelfs grafmonumenten zijn niet beschermd gebleken. In een sfeer van politieke onduidelijkheid en rechteloosheid kon bovendien de handelsgeest van simpele lieden geprikkeld worden (stelen, slopen en verkopen). De leiding van de vrije wereld tilde er niet al te zwaar aan. Stuff happens zei de Amerikaanse defensieminister Donald Rumsfeld in april 2003 naar aanleiding van het plunderen en vernielen van erfgoederen na de val van Bagdad. In vrijheid gebeuren er natuurlijk ook minder mooie dingen monkelde hij voort, in tijden van sociale spanning is plunderen niet ongewoon. Voor het gemak vergat de minister even de morele ‘verplichting’ die voortkomt uit de Haagse conventie van 1954.

Er zit ook een subtiel aspect aan deze vorm van ‘erfkwaad’. Door cultuur te vernietigen kun je de identiteit van een groep of volk aantasten. Zo ging de Taliban in 2001 de Bamiyan Boeddha’s (zesde eeuw na Chr.) met springstof te lijf. En in 2012 vernielden aan Al-Kaida gelieerde guerrillastrijders in Timboektoe (Mali) vanuit een ‘goddelijke’ inspiratie de eeuwenoude mausolea en graven van mystieke soefiheiligen. Talibanleider Moellah Omar bagatelliseerde zijn actie trouwens met de constatering dat het toch alleen maar om een hoop stenen gaat.

Het is duidelijk dat het iconoclasme (beeldstormerij) uit het achtste-eeuwse Byzantium door de ‘usual suspects’ (ontspoorde politici en ‘leiders’) herontdekt is. Een terreurmiddel met langdurige psychologische werking.

Is er dan niets tegen deze praktijken te doen? Dr. Joris Kila: “Er moet zo snel mogelijk een onafhankelijk internationaal erfgoedcentrum komen. Dat brengt dan deskundigheid bijeen en coördineert acties. Natuurlijk hoort een militair liaison bij zo’n centrum en is het ook een aanjager voor wetenschappelijk onderzoek. Je kunt er eventueel een leerstoel aan verbinden. Door het verdrag van Den Haag ligt de vestigingsplaats eigenlijk voor de hand”.

Tsja… pakt het immer treuzelende Den Haag als ‘stad van internationaal recht’ de handschoen op of zijn er andere (Vlaamse) gegadigden?

Erick Kila in Mededelingen van het CDR/Le blog de CDR Mardi 3 septembre 2013



Heritage and Identity bookseries at Brill eds Joris Kila & James Zeidler

The office of antiquities Minister Dr.Zahi Hawass under siege on 13 February 2011 Cairo photo (c) Joris Kila

Cultural heritage is continually under threat from human conflict, natural disaster or theft. The books published in this new series will contribute to the global dialogue about (a) the social value of cultural heritage as collective memory and identity, (b) how we can effectively protect cultural property in contexts of human conflict, natural disaster, or theft and looting, (c) ethical and legal consequences for institutions such as museums and universities as well as collectors and dealers when confronted with rare antiquities of unknown or with—in hindsight—politically incorrect provenance, (d) how the past is or was represented in history and the present, depending on geographical and political location and how cultural heritage is or should be protected and conserved for the future. The series will have a multidisciplinary perspective which will include aspects of international law, cultural diplomacy, the role of military forces, other stakeholders such as NGOs and IOs, exploitation of cultural resources, connections with environmental aspects, discussions on “repatriation” of artefacts, national laws on ownership, illicit traffic of cultural property and the different aspects of intangible cultural property. The series will be very timely not only because of on-going armed conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also due to the recent episodes of civil unrest in the Middle East (e.g., Egypt, Libya, etc.) as well as natural disasters (e.g., Haiti, Japan). All of these varied contingencies have put cultural properties at risk and all of them merit careful analysis and scrutiny.

Joris Kila photo (c) Jan van Breda

Heritage under Siege-Military Implementation of Cultural Property Protection Following the 1954 Hague Convention

Heritage under Siege, winner of the Blue Shield Award 2012, is the result of international multidisciplinary research on the subject of military implementation of cultural property protection (CPP) in the event of conflict. The book considers the practical feasibility as well as ideal perspectives within the juridical boundaries of the 1954 Hague Convention. The situation of today's cultural property protection is discussed. New case studies further introduce and analyze the subject. The results of field research which made it possible to follow and test processes in conflict areas including training, education, international, interagency, and interdisciplinary cooperation are presented here. This book gives a useful overview of the playing field of CPP and its players, as well as contemporary CPP in the context of military tasks during peace keeping and asymmetric operations. It includes suggestions for future directions including possibilities to balance interests and research outcomes as well as military deliverables. A separate section deals with legal aspects.

Cultural Heritage in the Crosshairs-Protecting Cultural Property during Conflict

Joris D. Kila, University of Vienna and James A. Zeidler, Colorado State University

WAR and the destruction of our CULTURAL HERITAGE

5. nov, 2013

Syria and Beyond: Cultural property devastations and cultural property protection (CPP) in the event of armed conflict

The Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) and the Cultural Heritage Group at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies (ToRS) have the pleasure of inviting you to a seminar on:

Syria and Beyond: Cultural property devastations and cultural property protection (CPP) in the event of armed conflict

5. November 2013, kl. 10.00-12.00
University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Humanities, KUA2, building 27
Room 27.0.09 (ground level)

In addition to the enormous humanitarian crisis, Syria suffers a pervasive destruction and looting of cultural property. In addition to the damage of world heritage, the losses will without doubt entail serious consequences for post-conflict reconciliation processes and the Syrian economy. This seminar takes stock of the destruction of cultural property in Syria. It examines the responses of the Syrian people, the international community, as well as NGOs and international organizations (IO's) and identifies steps that may be taken to protect Syria’s cultural property.

The destruction of cultural property in armed conflict has become an increasing important issue over the last decade with significant implications for international affairs and security. We are facing a highly complex problem, spanning from the laws of war to the regulation of international organized crime including financing of terrorists. Taking Syria as its example, the seminar will therefore also discuss the current approaches to cultural property protection in armed conflict.

10.00-10.10 Introduction
Dr. Nibal Muhesen, Postdoc, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies (ToRS)

Dr. Joris Kila: Cultural Property Protection in Syria and Beyond

Dr. Emma Cunliffe: The Destruction of Cultural property in Syria

11.10-12.00 Open Discussion

Chair: Dr. Nibal Muhesen, Postdoc, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies (ToRS)

Practical Information

The seminar will be held in English / Participation is free of charge/ Registration is not required.
Feel free to forward this invitation to others with a potential interest in the seminar.

20 Sept 2013

Seminar Copenhagen

Friday, 20. September, 9.30-12.00
Alexandersalen, Bispetorvet 1-3, 1167 København K
The world’s cultural heritage suffers enormous destruction during wartime –
Syria presents us with yet another catastrophic case. How could we strengthen the protection of the world’s cultural heritage during war and post-conflict situations? This seminar presents a number of political, legal and military perspectives on cultural heritage protection during wartime, from leading and influential experts in the field:
Dr. Joris Kila, Lt Col (reserve), Royal Netherlands Army, Chair International Military Cultural Resources Working Group.
Dr. Roger O’Keefe, Deputy Director, Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge
Dr. Laurie Rush, Cultural Resources Manager, US Army and Board Member of the US Committee of the Blue Shield
Dr. Ingolf Thuesen, Head of the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen
Please register at
CILJ – Center for International
Law and Justice
Faculty of Law

First page of my lead essay in the Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology & Heritage Studies (JEMAHS) issue 4 Forum, for free download:

Second page of my lead essay in the Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology & Heritage Studies (JEMAHS) issue 4 Forum, for free download via JSTOR :