Model Laws for Implementing International Conventions – The Implementation of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on Cultural Property
Liber Amicorum Ole Lando, pp. 353-367, Michael Joachim Bonell, Marie-Louise Holle, and Peter Arnt Nielsen, eds., Djøf Forlag, 2012
16 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2012
Date Written: September 1, 2012
Unifying and harmonizing legislation is as old as legislation itself. Since the 19th century international organizations, as, e.g. UNESCO, UNCITRAL and UNIROIT, took over and prepared unifying conventions. Today we have scholars like Ole Lando who promote European contract law and uniform law in general and to whom this contribution is dedicated. Sometimes there are – apart from European directives – international instruments which need national implementation in order to be effective. The UNESCO Convention of 14th November 1970 on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property is such a convention. In most of the 120 state parties implementing legislation is necessary, but only few states have passed such laws. The United States passed the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act of 12 January 1983 and applies it with respect to those states with which an agreement had been concluded on the protection of certain objects originating in these countries. Twenty years later the Swiss Federation followed suit and passed the Federal Act of 20 June 2003 on the International Transfer of Cultural Property (Cultural Property Transfer Act, CPTA), and in 2007 Germany implemented the 1970 UNESCO Convention in a statute on the return of cultural objects. In the United Kingdom no implementation is necessary because cultural property is already protected by national legislation. Many other state parties still need implementing legislation because the Convention is not immediately applicable. In order to achieve such implementation, the author drafts a model law drawing some experience gathered in some countries with implementing acts.
This contribution is published in this Research Paper Series as a part of the Liber Amicorum Ole Lando with the generous and exceptional permission of the rights owner, Djøf Forlag.
Keywords: UNESCO Convention on Cultural Property, implementation of international instruments, model laws, acquisition, import and return of foreign cultural objects
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