The 9th Infantry, during the Phillippine Insurrection, seized three church bells that were used as signals for a bloody attack on them. The Phillipine people now want them back
The Hague conventions, signed before the Balangiga Bells rang out their fatal message, apparently prohibit the confiscation of non-military property and trophies. Yet experts say that the Phillippines have little legal case to get them back–the Phillippines were legally part of the United States at the time. I am no expert, but I wonder if there isn’t another simple answer: the bells were used to signal a military attack, so they aren’t civilian property?
In any case, the ltreaties apparently recognizes the right of soldiers to take military trophies. If they do not recognize similar rights in military units, the treaties are an ass.