The International Military Cultural Resources Working Group (IMCuRWG), founded by Dr. J. D. (Joris) Kila at the University of Amsterdam Institute for Culture and History, is a consortium of cultural heritage professionals working within the military context. Dr. Kila is a researcher at the Alois-Musil-Center für Orientalische Archäologie and the Kompetenzzentrum Kulturelles Erbe und Kulturgüterschutz at the University of Vienna.. He also serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Netherlands Army. Dr. Kila formed IMCuRWG to:
- 1. Enhance military capacity to implement cultural property protection (CPP) across the full range of operations;
- 2. Provide a forum for international co-operation and networking for those working within the military context;
- 3. Identify areas of common interest;
- 4. Share best practice and lessons learned;
- 5. Provide damage reports and assessments on the condition of cultural property, archaeological sites and monuments in conflict regions;
- 6. Raise awareness and publicize military commitment to the protection of both tangible and intangible cultural property and cultural heritage;
- 7. Initiate and stimulate research on CPP and military involvement; and
- 8. Assist in the creation of an international military cultural emergency team.
Operating within the context of the 1954 Hague Convention, IMCuRWG addresses all relevant legal obligations pertaining to archaeological sites, historic buildings, museums, libraries, galleries and cultural landscapes around the world.
While membership is restricted to cultural heritage professionals who work within the military context, the Working Group’s liaison function frequently involves collaboration with advisors at NGOs and universities who actively participate in all IMCuRWG functions.
Recent activities include:
• The February 12-16, 2011 Emergency Mission to Assess Damage to Archaeological Sites in Egypt, conducted by Dr. J. D. Kila (IMCuRWG), Karl von Habsburg (President, Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield), and Dr. Thomas Schuler (ICOM Disaster Relief Task Force). The Final Report and photo documentation are available.
• Cultural Property Protection (CPP) Playing Cards, created with support from the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the State Inspectorate of Cultural Heritage and the Netherlands National Commission for UNESCO and permission from CCHAG and the Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands, Colorado State University.
In the aftermath of Operation Unified Protector and the fall of the Muammar Gaddhafi regime in Libya in 2011, LTC Kila accompanied Karl van Habsburg, president of the Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield and other specialists on an emergency assessment mission to Libya on September 28-30, 2011. The team met with Libyan officials, determined the post-conflict cultural heritage situation and confirmed the extent of damage at Leptis Magna and other important sites during the uprising. On May 4, 2012 LTC Kila presented the team’s findings in a presentation at USAFRICOM headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany and was presented with the Military Order of Foreign Wars of the United States for his work in Libya and his previous work with the Royal Dutch Military in Iraq.
For more information about IMCuRWG and to obtain a sample set of IMCuRWG Cultural Property Protection Playing Cards, contact:
Dr. J.D. Kila
Burgemeester Patijnlaan 1134
2585 CG The Hague