This Convention is the first international instrument to provide for the protection of cultural property in the case of armed conflict. It was later augmented by two Protocols of the Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Rome Statute, but remains the legal touchstone for such protection.
UNESCO states that the second protocol "further elaborates the provisions of the Convention relating to safeguarding of and respect for cultural property and the conduct of hostilities; thereby providing greater protection than before. It creates a new category of enhanced protection for cultural heritage that is particularly important for humankind, enjoys proper legal protection at the national level, and is not used for military purposes. It also specifies the sanctions to be imposed for serious violations with respect to cultural property and defines the conditions in which individual criminal responsibility shall apply. Finally, it establishes a 12 member Intergovernmental Committee to oversee the implementation of the Second Protocol and de facto the Convention.
The Second Protocol does not replace the Hague Convention; it complements it. In other words, the adoption of the Second Protocol has created two levels of protection: the basic level under the Hague Convention for its States Parties and the higher level of protection under the Second Protocol for its States Parties."
The Second Protocol was adopted on March 26, 1999 and entered into force on March 9, 2004.