Showing posts with label cultural property agreements. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cultural property agreements. Show all posts

March 23, 2019

Cultural Property Advisory Committee session - To be Streamed

The US Cultural Property Advisory Committee will meet April 1-3, 2019, to review new requests for cultural property agreements from Chile and Jordan. 

The CPAC committee invites public comment on the requests and the public may participate in the virtual open session of the meeting on April 1, 2019, from 1:30 – 2:30 pm EDT. 

Chile’s Request:  The Government of the Republic of Chile has requested U.S. import restrictions on archaeological material from Chile. This request was submitted pursuant to Article 9 of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property as implemented by the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act. More information on Chile’s request can be found here

Jordan’s Request: The Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has requested U.S. import restrictions on archaeological material from Jordan. This request was submitted pursuant to Article 9 of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property as implemented by the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act. More information on Jordan’s request can be found here. 

The Review Process:  The State Department will follow these procedures as it weighs responses to the request for an agreement from Chile and Jordan. 

Comments on the Chile and Jordan: For Chile and Jordan’s requests, public comments should focus on the four determinations described in the procedures above. All comments must be submitted in writing no later than March 25, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. (EDT). 

Use, enter docket DOS-2019-0004, and follow the prompts to submit written comments. 

Participate in the Virtual Open Session:  The virtual open session of the Committee meeting will be held on April 1 from 1:30 pm to approximately 2:30 pm EDT using Zoom, a web conferencing service. Anyone may attend and/or participate. 

If you are new to Zoom, these tips will help you get started. 

If needed, please request reasonable accommodation not later than March 15 by contacting the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at: 

Requests made after that date will be considered, but it may not be possible to fulfill them. 

To participate:  If you wish to participate in the open session at the meeting, you must request to be scheduled by March 27, 2019, via email ( in order to be guaranteed a slot. Please submit your name and organizational affiliation in this request. 

After you pre-register, you will be provided with instructions on how to participate. 

The open session will start with a brief presentation by the Committee, after which participants should be prepared to answer questions on any written statements they may have submitted. Finally, participants may provide additional oral comments for up to five (5) minutes per participant. 

Due to time constraints, it may not be possible to accommodate all who wish to speak. 

To observe: It is not necessary to pre-register. The webinar will include a chat space for conversation among observers. The chat space will not be monitored by the Committee and will not be incorporated into the record of the meeting. 

To join as an observer: Click the link to join the webinar: 

Or by Telephone: Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): US: +1 646 876 9923 or +1 669 900 6833 Webinar ID: 463 744 513 

International numbers available:

More Info:

October 13, 2018

Restitution: Two Etruscan Objects returned to Italy from Great Britain

Image Credit:  ARCA From Left to Right - Brigadier General Fabrizio Parrulli, Commander of the Italian Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, Britain's Minister of State for the Armed Forces Mark Lancaster, General of Army Corps Sabino Cavaliere, Commander of Mobile Units and Specialized Carabinieri 'Palidoro', Jill Morris, U.K. ambassador to Italy, and Detective Sergeant Rob Upham, chief of London's Metropolitan Police, Art & Antiques Squad.

In a formal ceremony on Thursday the 11th of October at the Villa Wolkonsky, the official residence of the British ambassador to Italy in Rome, UK authorities returned two Etruscan artifacts recovered by the Metropolitan Police in consultation with Italy's Comando Carabinieri per la Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale.  Both objects had been located within the vibrant London antiquities market.  

The bronze Etruscan statuette of Lares had been stolen from the Museo Archeologico di Siena in 1988.  According to Detective Sergeant Rob Upham, on hand for the handover from New Scotland Yard's Art and Antiques Unit, the terracotta Etruscan askos (a flask with spout and handle shaped like a sphinx), had once passed through the inventory of a convicted Italian ancient art dealer.   Elaborating to the press Upham added that the seller of the object in the UK appeared to be in good faith and therefore was treated as a cooperating witness during the Metropolitan police investigation. 

Image Credit:  ARCA Objects restituted
from the UK to Italy
To further the culture of legality in the field of protection of cultural heritage, and to highlight the UK's ongoing cooperation with their Italian counterparts, British Ambassador to Italy, Jill Morris CMG opened Villa Wolkonsky for the restitution ceremony highlighting the importance of recovery operations and welcoming experts from Italy and the UK in the fields of heritage protection and military cooperation.  Alongside the two restitutions Ambassador Morris and her staff arranged for an exhibition of stolen objects recovered by the Italy's art crime Carabinieri and an informative interactive display of many promising technological tools, made possible by advances in geophysics and remote sensing, which are now being used to assist in the protection of cultural heritage.  

Underpinning the event, was an afternoon heritage symposium titled  'UK-Italy: Partners for Culture' which served to underscore the embassy's commitment to the cultural partnerships established between Italy and the United Kingdom and which was facilitated through the combined efforts of the British Embassy in Rome, the British military, the British Council, the British School at Rome and the British Institute of Florence.   

Recovered objects presented in the exhibition highlighted several of the Carabinieri's significant recovery actions.  Three of which were:

A Violin made in 1567 by Cremonese violin maker Andrea Amati created to celebrate the investiture of King Charles IX of France.  The instrument was illegally exported from Italy in 2010 to the United States.

A I-II century CE limestone Palmyrene funerary relief, plundered from a hypogeum located at the archaeological site of Palmyra in Syria.  This stele was recovered from of an individual in Turin following investigations by the Italian authorities into the illicit trafficking of archaeological assets from the Middle East.  

Each of the historic objects selected for Thursday's exhibition provided attendees with a narrative fulcrum of the pervasiveness and diversity of threats against heritage and the importance of preserving the delicate balance that exists between admiring and preserving the the past through connoisseurship and collecting and the loss of historical context when objects are stolen or looted.

On hand for the event, UK Minister for the Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster, announced that his country's Army-led Cultural Property Protection Unit (CPPU) has now been fully established as part of the UK Government’s implementation of the Hague Convention.  This instrument places obligations on signatory country's armed forces for the protection of cultural property from damage, destruction, and looting.  Minister Lancaster also reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to the Statement of Intent signed earlier this year which furthers defence and security cooperation between Italy and the United Kingdom on a wide range of security challenges.

Speaking on behalf of the Comando Carabinieri per la Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale, Brigadier General Fabrizio Parrulli highlighted the successes of his country's team since the founding of ‘Carabinieri’ Department for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in 1969.  Since its creation, the branch of the Italian Carabinieri responsible for combatting art and antiquities crimes has recovered more than 797,000 works of art and confiscated 1,096,747 archaeological finds.  The tenacious efforts of the unit's personnel in deterring the global clandestine market of antiquities, in collaboration with police, military forces and judicial authorities of others countries, serves as the gold standard military police model for addressing the far-reaching, multiform and pernicious problem of illicit trafficking and art theft, both nationally and transnationally. 

General Parrulli also emphasized Italy's ‘Unite4Heritage’ (Blue Helmets for culture) project, which was approved unanimously by UNESCO, as a division available and trained, to be used as needed both inside and outside Italy, for the protection of the cultural heritage in the event of natural disasters, armed conflicts or an international crisis at the request of the UN, UNESCO or State Parties.  Composed of 30 Carabinieri, a commander, and heritage experts (archaeologists, art historians, computer engineers and geologists) from the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, this team has been put in place to  support local police forces in their efforts to prevent looting, plundering and trafficking of historical and artistic heritage, as well as in the recovery and protection of these assets in times of crisis.

Seventy years after the British Army last had officers in the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives sections during the Second World War and following the UK's ratification of the Hague Convention (1954), which makes it an obligation for the Armed Forces to have a military CPP unit, Lt. Col. Tim Purbrick OBE VR will be the first to lead the UK's newly formed Cultural Property Protection Unit.  During his presentation Lt. Col. Purbrick stated that his unit will consist of 15 trained experts, drawing from members of the Army, Navy, RAF, and Royal Marines as well as civilian experts, brought on board as Army reservists.  His team is expected to work closely with their Italian counterparts to advance the UK's own international military expertise within the sector of cultural property protection. 

Image Credit:  Carabinieri TPC  -
Brigadier General Fabrizio Parrulli, Commander
of the Italian Carabinieri Command for the
Protection of Cultural Heritage and Lynda Albertson, ARCA CEO

ARCA also was invited to give a presentation at the symposium on the Association's contributions to the research academic examination of art crimes as a notable criminological area worthy of more profound study.   Speaking simply as a watchful observer to some of the problems existing within the licit art market, Lynda Albertson's presentation touched some of the impediments to successful prosecution of heritage crimes as they relate to the transnational movement of illicit  cultural objects.  

During her presentation Ms. Albertson highlighted the multijurisdictional movement of objects, as they transit from country of origin to country of purchase, discussing ARCA's initiatives in Italy and to providing training to heritage personnel in the Middle East as a way to assist in the tracking and identification of objects stolen from vulnerable source countries. 

Highlighting an insufficient number of law enforcement officers outside of Italy's formidable art squad, and the need for adequate funding to pay experts who presently monitor the market on a volunteer basis, Ms. Albertson also stressed the need for dedicated public prosecutors specializing in art and antiquities crimes and mandatory uniform reporting requirements for object provenance in the market as the market's opacity impedes the tracking stolen and looted objects and exacerbates the collective damage we all suffer when cultural goods are siphoned away through illegal exportation and trafficking. 

ARCA would like to thank Ambassador Morris for her kind invitation to participate and for her recognition of the value of culture in its own right and as a vector for Italy-UK cooperation. 

March 19, 2011

"Human Rights and Cultural Heritage: from the Holocaust to the Haitian Earthquake" Scheduled for March 31 at Cardozo Law School in New York

The Cardozo Art Law Society is conducting a one-day seminar, "Human Rights and Cultural Heritage: from the Holocaust to the Haitian Earthquake", from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on March 31, 2011 at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York.

Other organizers include the American Society of International Law, Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation, and the Hofstra Law School Art and Cultural Heritage Club.

You may read the day's schedule and register here.

Those speakers who have appeared in previous posts on the blog include: Marc Masurovsky, Co-Founder of the Holocaust Art Restitution Project; Howard N. Spiegler, Partner and Co-Chair of the Art Law Group, Herrick, Feinstein LLP; Patricia K. Grimsted, Senior Research Associate, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute and International Institute of Social History; and Jennifer A. Kreder, Professor of Law, Salmon P. Chase College of Law.

March 6, 2011

Tulane Law School Symposium: "Defending Aphrodite: Enforcing International Cultural Property Law" in Siena in June

Cathedral of Siena (Courtesy of Tulane Law School)

The Tulane-Siena Institute for International Law, Cultural Heritage and the Arts, the University of Siena and the European University Institute will present "Defending Aphrodite: Enforcing International Cultural Property Law" from June 3 to 4 this year in Siena, Italy.

The panel "International Legal Order" will feature F. Francioni on "Plurality and Interaction of Legal Orders in the Enforcement of International Cultural Heritage Norms"; Ana Vrdoljak on "Enforcing Restitution of Cultural Property through Peace Treaties"; F. Lenzerini on "The Role of International and Mixed Criminal Courts in the Enforcement of International Norms on the Protection of Cultural Property"; L. Rush and M. Bogdanos on "Enforcement of International Norms for the Protection of Art and Cultural Heritage in Times of War."

The panel, "Enforcement by Domestic Courts" will feature R. Pavoni on "Sovereign Immunity and the Enforcement of International Cultural Property Law"; P. Vigni on "The Role of Domestic Courts in Adjudicating Underwater Cultural Heritage Disputes: A Comparative Analysis of US and Italy's Jurisprudence"; Patty Gerstenblith on "Enforcement of Criminal Sanctions in American State Courts"; Herb Larson on "Failure of the U. S. Department of Justice to Protect Art and Cultural Property"; and J. Gordley on "Reclaiming Cultural Heritage in Domestic Courts."

The panel, "Alternative Methods of Enforcement: Arbitration, Diplomatic, Soft Law & Settlement methods" will feature P. Lalive on "Enforcing International Cultural Property Law Through Arbitration"; H. Flora on "Enforcement by the Code of Ethics of Museums and Dealers of Art"; D. Fincham on "The Sources and Impact of Cultural Heritage Norms" and A. Chechi on "The Role of UNESCO in Promoting Compliance with International Cultural Property Law."

March 5, 2011

"The 1970 Convention: Past and Future" Paris, UNESCO Headquarters, March 15 and 16, 2011

UNESCO/S. Delepierre
Catherine Schofield Sezgin, Editor

I have been invited to attend UNESCO's 40th commemoration on March 15 of the 1970 Convention which outlined UNESCO's fight against the Illicit trafficking of cultural property. One of the speakers has been featured prominently in the news recently: Dr. Zahi Hawass, Ministry of State for Antiquities of Egypt, who recently resigned his newly created post due to his professed inability to secure the museums and archaeological sites in Egypt over the past month.

In the morning, Dr. Hawass is scheduled to speak on a panel titled "Public Debate" moderated by Louis Laforge, Journalist, France télévisions with the following scheduled speakers: Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO; Bernd Rossback, Director of Specialized Crimes and Analysis for Interpol; Alfonso de Maria y Campos, General Director, National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico; Stéphane Martin, President of Musée du Quai Branly; and Jane Levin, Worldwide Compliance Director and Senior-Vice President, Sotheby's.

In the afternoon, a seminar titled "The legal instruments employed for the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property", will be moderated by Francesco Bandarin, Assistant Director-General for Culture at UNESCO with these speakers: Marie Cornu, Research Director of CNRS, France; Lyndel V. Prott, Honorary Professor at the University of Queensland in Australia; Jose-Angelo Estrella Faria, Secretary General for UNIDROIT; Paolo Ferri, former prosecutor for the Republic of Italy and an international legal expert in cultural goods; Antonio Roma Valdés, Spanish prosecutor and expert in international cooperation and crimes against cultural heritage; and John Scanlon, Secretary-General of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna.

The evening round table, "Illicit trafficking of archaeological objects", moderated by Jean-Frédéric Jauslin, director of the Federal Office of Culture in Switzerland, is scheduled to include these speakers: Maria Andreadaki-Vlazaki, General Director of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Greece; Cecilia Bakula, former National Director of the National Institute of Culture and Ambassador of Peru; Petty Gerstenblith, Distinguished Research Professor of Law from De Paul University; Ridha Fraoua, Doctor of Law and expert in cultural heritage legislation; Sergio Mújica, Deputy Secretary General, World customs Organization; and Samuel Sidibe, Director of the National Museum of Mali.

You can read more about this commemoration here at the UNESCO website.

February 4, 2011

The Journal of Art Crime: Columnist David Gill on 'Context Matters'

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin

In his column “Context Matters,” archaeologist David Gill writes of “Greece and the U. S.: Reviewing Cultural Property Agreements” of Greece’s 2010 formal request to the United States to impose “import restrictions on archaeological and ethnological material from Greece dating to the Neolithic Period through the mid-eighteenth century”.

Gill’s column also covers international looting news from the period from March 2010 through August 2010 in Egypt, Greece, Italy, Japan, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

David Gill is Reader in Mediterranean Archaeology at Swansea University, Wales, UK. He is a former Rome Scholar at the British School at Rome and was a member of the Department of Antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge. He has published widely on archaeological ethics with Christopher Chippindale. His Sifting the Soil of Greece: The Early Years of the British School at Athens (1886-1919) is due to be published in March by the Institute of Classical Studies in London. He is a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Art Crime.

ARCA blog: Dr. Gill, some of our readers are not schooled in cultural property law, how would you explain to them the lay meaning of Greece's request to the U. S. to impose "import restrictions in archaeological and ethnological material from Greece"?
Dr. Gill: The US has been a signatory to the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970) since 1983. However this seems to have made little significant impact on the acquisition policies of public museums and private collectors (as the impact of the “Medici Conspiracy” has shown all too clearly). In the last few years the J. Paul Getty Museum returned a gold funerary wreath that appears to have been removed from an archaeological context in Macedonia, and the New York collector Shelby White handed back a bronze calyx-krater that also appears to come from northern Greece. There are reports in the Greek press that there is a claim on a number of Greek antiquities in a major U. S. university museum. The case of the Aidonia Treasure that appeared on the North American market drew attention to concerns about recent illicit activity on archaeological sites in Greece. The Greek authorities feel that a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) would have an impact on the movement of recently-surfaced cultural objects.
ARCA blog: Why do you think that the agreement stops "through the mid-eighteenth century"? What was the political compromise here?
Dr. Gill: The requested agreement covers material from prehistoric times (Neolithic) right through to the period of the Turkokratia. The MOU statement made it clear that Greek authorities wished to protect post-Byzantine art and materials.
ARCA blog: Would you expect to see any practical changes in how museums or private individuals collect items from Greece? And what kind of items would be included in this agreement?
Dr. Gill: The “Medici Conspiracy” has delivered a wake-up call to major museums and private collectors in North America (and beyond). Museum curators, dealers and collectors can no longer turn a blind eye to the issue. The Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) has re-formulated its policy towards the acquisition of archaeological material, and established an online object registry. There needs to be a more rigorous due diligence process by those selling antiquities as well as those making purchases. Collecting histories (I prefer this to the misleading term “provenance” that is so carelessly used in art history circles—but that is another story) need to be carefully documented. The proposed MOU with Greece covers a range of works from Neolithic figurines to ecclesiastical icons.
To seek out this piece, and many others, consider a subscription to the Journal of Art Crime—the first peer-reviewed academic journal covering art and heritage crime. ARCA publishes two volumes annually in the Spring and Fall. Individual, Institutional, electronic and printed versions are all available, with subscriptions as low as 30 Euros. All proceeds go to ARCA's nonprofit research and education initiatives. Please see the publications page for more information.

Photo: Dr. Gill at Rhamnous in eastern Attica, Greece