NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 23 – The fight against illicit trafficking is key to any strategy to dry the sources of financing terrorism. Τhe Permanent Missions of Cyprus and Italy in collaboration with UNIDROIT are organizing an event on the international legal framework for the protection of cultural heritage with a focus on the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects and other relevant initiatives and instruments.
The event will take place on Tuesday 28 February at UN Headquarters. Among the purposes is to establish a Task Force to promote the ratification of the UNIDROIT Convention and other instruments and to raise awareness as to the tools offered by the international instruments in the global effort to stop the looting of cultural property. The Italian Permanent Representative Sebastiano Cardi and his colleague from Cyprus, Kornelios Korneliou, will open the discussion with Jose Angelo Maria Estrella, Secretary General of UNIDROIT, and Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe as keynote speakers.
UNESCO’s efforts to prevent illegal trafficking of cultural heritage were complemented by the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects, which arises from a reflection on the need for the harmonization of private law topics touched by the 1970 Convention, such as the rules governing good faith acquisitions of stolen property, which vary among countries.
The UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects, adopted in 1995, is a self-executing treaty. It establishes procedures for the return or restitution of stolen or illegally exported cultural goods falling into the categories listed under Article I and the Annex of the Convention. The text aims to reduce trafficking by encouraging gradual but fundamental changes in the behaviour of all actors in the market. In fact, the strict provision of Article 3(1), enshrines the principle that the purchaser of a stolen cultural object must return it whatever the circumstances, coupled with the possibility of compensation for the buyer who can prove that he/she acted “with due diligence” (Article 4(1)). The innovative due diligence standard set by Article 4(4) has become a fundamental principle in international law with regard to the acquisition of cultural property. (@OnuItalia)