Go On! Third Annual Cultural Heritage and the Arts Law Interest Group Dinner

DCThe Cultural Heritage and the Arts Interest Group (CHAIG) of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) invites you to its third annual dinner, which will take place on April 10 in Washington, DC.

While this event is hosted by CHAIG — and scheduled to correspond with the ASIL Annual Meeting/ILA Biennial Conference — all are welcome to attend. The dinner will give professionals, students, and members of the public a chance to interact and discuss the field of cultural heritage law.

Tickets cost $55 and include a three-course dinner at Cedar, voted one of DC’s best restaurants by the Washingtonian.

Registration is required by April 7, 2014.

For more information, visit the official website.

 

U.S. v. Cambodian Sculpture: 3 Years Later

U.S. v.  Cambodian Sculpture: 3 Years Later

Exactly 3 years ago today, this thousand year old Khmer masterpiece was put on the auction block at Sotheby’s, where it was expected to fetch $3 million. It was pulled from sale when Cambodia demanded its return, citing evidence it had been looted during the country’s bloody civil war. 6 weeks later, the US government filed a civil forfeiture action, seeking to recover and repatriate the statue. This litigation made headlines around the world, and was only resolved 3 months ago, when Sotheby’s settled. To learn more about the case — U.S. v. 10th-century Cambodian Sandstone Sculpture — click the photo and visit the New York Times.

Go On! Study Art Law at the Tulane-Siena Institute

ImageThe Tulane-Siena Institute for International Law, Cultural Heritage, and the Arts is now accepting applications for its 3 week summer course in Tuscany. The program is based in historic Siena, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of Italy’s most beloved tourist destinations. It runs from 3-27 June 2014, during which time students will earn five ABA credits, and have the opportunity to take the following classes:

• The International Legal Framework for the Protection of Art and Cultural Property
• From Black to Gray: The Markets in Stolen and Looted Art and Antiquities
• Beyond the Law: The Ethics of Collectors and Collections
• The Protection of Art in Times of Crisis: From War to Natural Disasters

While designed for law students, the Tulane-Siena Institute welcomes other graduate students and professionals, including practicing lawyers. Indeed attorneys may be eligible to earn six Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits for each hour of academic credit awarded by the school. The application deadline is May 31, but apply now, as seats are limited.

To learn more and apply, visit the official website here.

The US Takes on Antiquities Trafficking (And Why You Should Care)

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A Cambodian boy looks across the Mekong Delta to the temple of Phnom Da.

As the World Economic Forum concludes, in an editorial on the Huffington Post, my colleague Mark Vlasic and I have urged the political leaders attending Davos to pay heed to an international criminal industry that is costing the world billions in financial losses, and more irreparably, destroying something with no price tag: our cultural heritage.

Right now looters are reducing countless ancient sites to rubble in their search for buried treasures to sell on the art market. The ensuing trafficking of antiquities and other stolen cultural objects reaches every corner of the globe, and experts fear, may be funding organized crime and terrorist groups. It is also a very attractive way to clean “dirty” assets in the face of otherwise strengthened anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws, which as former United States prosecutor Rick St. Hilaire notes, “are often limited when it comes to the trade in cultural property.”

For these very practical reasons, the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) — as well as foreign and international law enforcement such as Scotland Yard and Interpol — are now prioritizing their efforts to fight antiquities trafficking. U.S. agents and attorneys in particular have had a recent string of successes on this front. Just this month the federal government returned $1.5 million worth of plundered statues to India. And last month, it celebrated another victory when Sotheby’s Auction House agreed to repatriate a $3 million masterpiece to Cambodia, which had been hacked by thieves from a sacred temple during the country’s bloody civil war (both stories were reported by Tom Mashberg in the New York Times here and here).

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