Illicit Excavation, Theft, and Trafficking
Chapter 2 deals with the illegal movement of cultural objects from certain artefact-rich to art-market States. It introduces the scale of this problem and the related destruction to cultural heritage and the nature of the illicit trade in antiquities as a form of organized crime. The various existing forms of control (export and import controls, inventory systems, regulation of the internal market, museum self-regulation, and international policing, etc) are presented and the role of transit States in facilitating this illegal movement is addressed. The relevant international treaties, in particular the 1970 UNESCO Convention, the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo, 2000) are examined and analysed. Finally, the challenges and effectiveness of international litigation for the recovery of cultural objects are considered, with the help of some prominent international cases for restitution and return as illustrative examples.
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