The Blood Antiquities Convention as a Paradigm for Cultural Property Crime Reduction

38 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2019

See all articles by Derek Fincham

Derek Fincham

South Texas College of Law Houston

Date Written: March 15, 2019

Abstract

In 2017 the Council of Europe opened for signature the first ever international treaty aimed at policing cultural property. As more attention has been paid to the damage done by the theft, looting, and illicit trafficking of cultural objects, the Council of Europe has met this challenge with an ambitious convention which aims to fill gaps in the current criminal laws. These gaps have too often been exploited by individuals in the illicit antiquities trade. The author had an opportunity to present his analysis of a draft version of the Council of Europe's Convention at a meeting held in Lucca, Italy in 2017. The meeting of that group of experts revealed a document that had the benefit of grand ambitions and tough talk on the policing of illicit antiquities. Yet there was pessimism expressed by many experts that the Convention would accomplish the goals which it set out to achieve. The essay which follows is an expansion of the remarks given at that meeting. It argues that the cultural property trade badly needs to be properly regulated. This includes not simply seizure and forfeiture of objects, but also the prosecution of persistent bad actors. The Nicosia Convention opens up new possibilities for prosecution at all levels of the illicit trade. Although the Convention is the first of its kind, it has been met with surprisingly little attention in the cultural heritage law academy. This essay introduces the main reforms offered by the Convention and argues that it points the way forward for future policing of the illicit trade in cultural property.

Keywords: Public International Law, Council of Europe, Antiquities, Cultural Property, Cultural Heritage, Cultural Heritage Law

Suggested Citation

Fincham, Derek, The Blood Antiquities Convention as a Paradigm for Cultural Property Crime Reduction (March 15, 2019). Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 37, No. 2, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3366570

Derek Fincham (Contact Author)

South Texas College of Law Houston ( email )

1303 San Jacinto Street
Houston, TX 77002
United States
9546678328 (Phone)

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