Showing posts with label 1970 UNESCO Convention. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1970 UNESCO Convention. Show all posts

March 19, 2017

Lecture: Criminals without Borders - The many profiles of the (il)licit antiquities trade.



For those interested interested in the realm of illicit trafficking who will be in Rome, Italy April 21, 2017 Lynda Albertson, ARCA's Chief Executive Officer will be giving a talk on "Criminals without Borders."

This one hour lecture, at 6:00 pm at John Cabot University will provide a brief overview of the profile of actors in the illicit art trade, giving examples of how those in the trade avoid detection and prosecution.

This presentation will discuss the motives of trafficking in art and antiquities, highlighting cases from source and conflict countries emphasizing that the trade thrives on commercial opportunity i.e., a means of dealing in high value commodities that are often poorly protected, difficult to identify and easy to transport across national boundaries.

Her presentation will examine specific case examples and will underscoring response mechanisms that work to proactively counter the illegal trade.

The discussion will highlight

--the interchangeable participants in the illicit antiquities trade
--varying motives/opportunities
--how connections through single interactions can form loosely based networks


Lynda Albertson is the CEO of ARCA — The Association for Research into Crimes against Art, a nongovernmental organisation which works to promote research in the fields of art crime and cultural heritage protection. The Association seeks to identify emerging and under-examined trends related to the study of art crime and to develop strategies to advocate for the responsible stewardship of our collective artistic and archaeological heritage. 

Ms. Albertson, through her role at ARCA seeks to influence policy makers, public opinion and other key stakeholders so that public policies are developed and based on apolitical evidence, and which addresses art crime prevention and the identification of art crimes in heritage preservation initiatives.

In furtherance of that, Ms. Albertson provides technical, scientific and regional expertise to national and international organizations such as UNESCO, CULTNET, ICOM, in furtherance of ARCA's heritage preservation mission.   For the past five years, Lynda has focused part of her work on fighting the pillage of ancient sites and trafficking of artifacts, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, conducting research on the illicit trade in antiquities in MENA countries. 

Ms. Albertson also oversees ARCA's inter NGO - Governmental engagement and capacity building in MENA countries in recognition of UN Security Council Resolution 2199, which among other provisions, bans all trade in looted antiquities from Iraq and Syria and encourages steps to ensure such items are returned to their homelands. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM (CET)
Guarini Campus
Via della Lungara, 233

October 8, 2016

UNESCO issues report on Freeports


The Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation (ICPRCP) promotes practical tools and communication to raise public awareness about trafficking in and return of stolen objects.

With its work closely tied to the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, the Committee met at UNESCO's Headquarters in Paris, on September 29-30, 2016 to discus the need for better prevention, increased cooperation and awareness raising of illicit trafficking in cultural property.

As an outcome of that meeting, UNESCO issued a document which highlights the phenomenon of free ports and their implications on the illicit art market. A copy of their report, it its entirety, can be referenced directly on the UNESCO website here:

Freeport concerns are a subject that ARCA has blogged about with regularity as has Professor David Gill on the blog Looting Matters as they have long been havens for high value artwork in general and illicit art work in particular.  More recently Free ports have been springing up around the world with increasing regularity as more investors begin to store and trade physical assets at locations which provide taxation incentives.

With their state of the art security, enormous potential for tax savings and less than transparent ownership record keeping which varies from country to country and freeport to freeport, these massive storage facilities may well continue to be a convenient and secure weigh station for traffickers to park hot goods until the world gets distracted elsewhere.  










August 10, 2016

Reverse Smuggling - Archaeological Remains and Paintings Imported to Italy Without Proper Authority Seized

Three containers, searched by Italy's customs authorities have been seized by the Guardia di Finanza at the Port of La Spezia having been found to contain numerous smuggled works of art.  

The shipping crates, reported to be the property of a wealthy US businessman, are said to contain more than 100 objects, including several Roman era archaeological finds dating from the IV-III century BCE, 1 century CE Carrara marble statues, two large French-origin oil paintings dating back to the eighteenth century and various other antiquities and pieces of furniture. 

During the search, it was found that all the shipped items were imported without adequate proof of ownership or provenance.   

The objects, arriving from Miami, Florida, appear to have been smuggled into Italy in part, to furnish a home in the Florentine hills.  Local Italian authorities have filed a complaint against the US businessman for conduct punishable by the Italian Code of Cultural Heritage, the Italian Criminal Code and the Italian Customs Code.  

It has been estimates that the undeclared items, should proper provenance actually be established, would have an estimated import fee totalling approximately 23 thousand euros.  



March 14, 2016

Another War's Cultural Cleansing and Rebuilding: Bosnia and the Destruction of Cultural Heritage

By Guest Author, Helen Walasek

With the deliberate attacks on historic monuments, archaeological sites and religious structures from mosques to monasteries now being enacted across Syria and Iraq, we should not forget the premeditated assaults on cultural and religious heritage in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the war of the 1990s, one of the most reported aspects of the conflict. 

Twenty years have passed since the end of the bitter 1992–1995 Bosnian War and the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement. In The Hague two of the principal architects of the conflict, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić, and his military commander, Ratko Mladić, await judgement on war crimes charges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). 

Among those charges are the intentional destruction of cultural and religious heritage, a central element of the aggressive campaigns of ethnic cleansing that sought to create mono-ethnic / mono-religious territories within Bosnia-Herzegovina where once there had been diversity and coexistence. The destruction (usually far from the front-lines) was one of the defining features of a conflict that shocked the world. 

Smoke pours from the Vijećnica, the National Library of Bosnia Herzegovina
in Sarajevo after the shelling on the night of  25-26 August 1992. The photograph was a
prosecution exhibit at the ICTY. © ICTY

While the devastation provoked global condemnation, particularly attacks on iconic structures in cosmopolitan urban settings like the National Library (known also as the Vijećnica) in Sarajevo and Mostar’s Old Bridge (Stari Most), it was in towns and villages across wide swathes of ethnically-cleansed countryside where the destruction was worst, particularly of Bosnia’s Ottoman and Islamic heritage. Here some of the country’s most beautiful historic mosques, like the domed sixteenth-century Aladža Mosque in Foča and the the Ferhadija Mosque in Banja Luka were razed to the ground. 

Aladža Mosque See
Image Caption details
2a, 2b and 3 are found
at end ofthis article.

Orthodox and Catholic churches and monasteries were assaulted, too. The magnificent neo-Baroque Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Mostar was dynamited to rubble, the Franciscan Monastery at Plehan shelled, then blown up by a truck carrying two tons of explosives.

However, early hypotheses of an equivalent and mutual destruction of religious and cultural heritage by all three principal warring parties in the conflict (breakaway nationalist Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats and the Bosnian government – usually labelled ‘Muslim’) have not been supported by later assessments.  These identify Bosnian Serb forces and their allies (which controlled 70% of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina), and on a lesser scale Bosnian Croat forces, as the principal perpetrators of ethnic cleansing – and thus of the destruction of cultural and religious property. 

The Dayton Peace Agreement ended the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. One overarching aim was to attempt to reverse the effects of ethnic cleansing and restore the country to its prewar diversity. To those drafting the treaty, addressing the devastation to Bosnia’s cultural heritage was considered so essential to the peace process that Annex 8 of the eleven annexes to the Dayton Agreement provided for the formation of a Commission to Preserve National Monuments – a unique feature in any peace agreement.

But the post-conflict restoration of important historic monuments, particularly of iconic sites, were to become settings for the often competing agendas of both international and domestic actors. Meanwhile, surviving refugees and displaced people returning to reconstruct their communities in the places from which they had been violently expelled worked to a different dynamic. Here post-conflict restoration became closely bound up with ‘restoring’ feelings of security, a psychological yet literal ‘rebuilding’ of communities, yet which also came to encompass ‘hard law’ issues as obstacles to the right to reconstruct were challenged through legal remedies. 

Residents of Banja Luka stare at the remains of the 16th century Ferhadija Mosque
eliberately dynamited by the Bosnian Serb authorities in May 1993, more than a
year after the Bosnian War began. There had been no fighting in Banja Luka.
© Estate of Aleksander Aco Ravlić

The case of post-conflict Bosnia shows how, regardless of the aims of the peace process and the framework of the Dayton Peace Agreement (and the reasons that lay behind the destruction of cultural and religious property), when it came to reconstruction, the international community focused its attention almost entirely on restoring iconic sites like the Old Bridge at Mostar, predictably linking ‘restoration’ and ‘reconciliation’. Meanwhile, while in another domain, with frequently no help from international actors, returning communities attempting to rebuild and restore focused rather on human rights and freedom of religion.

What happened in Bosnia was to become a seminal marker and a paradigm of intentional cultural property destruction, not only among heritage professionals, but across disciplines from the military to humanitarian aid organisations in the years following the end of the war as they struggled to find answers to the questions raised by the inability of the international community in all its varied embodiments to prevent the destruction and where its representatives were frequently left as passive onlookers. 

The destruction in Bosnia-Herzegovina was to have a major impact in many spheres of heritage protection, not least the drafting and adoption of the Second Protocol to The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, and was the prompt for the formation of the Blue Shield movement.

At the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the court’s prosecutions led to groundbreaking judgements that crystallized a more definitive recognition in international humanitarian law that intentional destruction of cultural property was not only a war crime in itself, but a manifestation of persecution and – crucially – that destruction of a people’s cultural heritage was an aspect of genocide.

Typical uses for the levelled site of a destroyed mosque: as a parking lot and space
for communal garbage containers and small kiosks. This site of the now
reconstructed Krpića Mosque in Bijeljina in 2001. © Richard Carlton

Yet despite all this, the literature on the destruction of cultural and religious property in Bosnia-Herzegovina and its worldwide impact has been remarkably slight. An exception is the glut of publications on Mostar and the reconstruction of the Old Bridge – itself symptomatic of the focus of the international community post-conflict restoration efforts. 

Bosnia and the Destruction of Cultural Heritage gives the first comprehensive overview and analysis of the destruction of the cultural heritage in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the 1992–1995 war. A case study and source book on the first significant destruction of European cultural heritage during conflict since World War Two, it seeks to assess questions which have moved to the foreground with the inclusion of cultural heritage preservation and protection as an important aspect of international post-conflict and development aid.

Examining responses to the destruction (including from bodies like UNESCO and the Council of Europe), the book discusses what intervention the international community took (if any) to protect Bosnia’s heritage during the war, as well as surveying the post-conflict scene. Assessing implementation of Annex 8 of the Dayton Peace Agreement and the use of other legal remedies, it looks also at the treatment of war crimes involving cultural property at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 

Author: 

With contributions by: 

Publisher: 
Routledge (Ashgate), 17 April 2015, 
hardback, 430 pages, 
126 black and white illustrations and 1 map

============================

Image Captions:
2.a The 16th century Aladža Mosque in Foča, one of the most important Ottoman monuments in South East Europe, pictured before its destruction in 1992.

2.b Site of the Aladža Mosque in 1996. Both photographs were used as prosecution evidence of war crimes at the ICTY. © ICTY

3. Satellite images of the Aladža Mosque, Foča, taken in October 1991 where its minaret and dome can be clearly seen and the same site in August 1992 showing a rubble strewn space where the mosque had once stood. The pictures were used as prosecution evidence in war crimes trials at the ICTY. © ICTY

______________


1] Final report of the United Nations Commission of Experts, Annex IV The policy of ethnic cleansing. S/1994/674/Add.2 (Vol. I), 28 December 1994, Introduction; Sanitized [   ] Version of Ethnic Cleansing Paper, dated 5 January 1995. See also Ethnic Cleansing and Atrocities in Bosnia, Statement by CIA Deputy Director for Intelligence John Gannon, Joint SSCI SFRC Open Hearing, 9 August 1995, and numerous ICTY prosecutions www.icty.org/. While Bosnian government forces did commit grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, these assessments found that they had no policy of ethnic cleansing and did not engage in such operations.


February 16, 2016

Tutta italiana la prima task force a protezione del patrimonio culturale mondiale

Unite for heritage (#Unite4Heritage) 


La prima task force a protezione del patrimonio culturale del mondo, i Caschi Blu della Cultura con i Carabinieri Tpc, nati oggi firmando l'accordo con l'Unesco e presentati a Roma nel complesso delle Terme di Diocleziano. Firmata anche la nascita dell'International Training and Research Center of Economies of Culture and World Heritage, centro di formazione che sarà a Torino, dedicato al nuovo gruppo d'azione.


By:  Giuseppe Grifeo Di Partanna

Originally published in its entirety, with permission from Di Roma here. 

(a fine testo, prima un video sulla nuova task force e poi una galleria immagini sulla distruzione dell'antica e celebre città di Palmyra, demolizione voluta dall'Isis)


"Una nazione è viva quando è viva la sua cultura". Con queste parole scritte in inglese e in antico persiano si è dato il via alla presentazione della prima task force operativa a protezione del patrimonio culturale mondiale, i Caschi Blu della Cultura "Unite for heritage" che vede impegnati per primi al mondo i Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale.

La frase fu scritta per la prima volta nel 2002 su un pezzo di stoffa appeso all'ingresso del Museo Nazionale dell'Afghanistan a Kabul, struttura salvata da saccheggi e distruzione, avviata alla sua ristrutturazione e restauro delle opere d'arte lì custodite.  Un simbolo chiaro come risposta inequivocabile e ferma, è la nascita di questo gruppo che vede i militari dell'Arma appartenenti al suo nucleo specializzato, insieme a esperti del settore, studiosi e professionisti, pronti a operare in tutto il globo.

Ne dà notizia la stampa di tutto il mondo, tanti i giornalisti non solo italiani alla presentazione. Ne scrive l'organizzazione internazionale ARCA (Association for Research into Crimes against Art) in un suo articolo dettagliato. 


Una presentazione, quella avvenuta oggi nell'aula X delle Terme di Diocleziano – Museo Nazionale Romano, che ha visto la presenza di ben quattro titolari di dicasteri, del direttore generale dell'Unesco, del Comandante dell'Arma dei Carainieri, del sindaco di Torino: i ministri Dario Franceschini (Beni e attività culturali e del Turismo), Roberta Pinotti (Difesa), Stefania Giannini (Istruzione, Università e Ricerca), Paolo Gentiloni (Affari esteri e Cooperazione internazionale), la direttrice Unesco Irina Bokova, il generale Tullio Del Sette e il primo cittadino del capoluogo piemontese, Piero Fassino.

«Il patrimonio culturale è di tutti e tutti abbiamo il dovere di proteggerlo e difenderlo - ha detto il ministro Franceschini - La comunità internazionale protegga patrimonio culturale umanità. Siamo il primo Paese che mette a disposizione dell'Unesco una task force completamente dedicata alla difesa del patrimonio culturale mondiale e già operativa. Spero siano molti i paesi a seguire questa strada».

Il tutto fa seguito all'accordo firmato a ottobre 2015 e con l'approvazione di una risoluzione all'Unesco presentata dall'Italia e firmata da altre 53 nazioni.

«Il patrimonio del mondo non è più minacciato nel corso di un conflitto dalle azioni di guerra, come avveniva nella Seconda Guerra Mondiale - ha sottolineato Franceschini - Ora la distruzione viene filmata e usata come propaganda, a simbolo dell'eliminazione di una cultura diversa, per cancellarla. L'importanza dell'atto firmato oggi non è solo simbolica ma ben concreta».

Il generale Tullio Del Sette ha ribadito la lunga storia operativa del nucleo Tutela Patrimonio Culturale del carabinieri, «nato 47 anni fa (ndR: 3 maggio 1969), primo reparto al mondo dedicato a questo tipo di attività operativa».

I carabinieri Tpc sono stati messi a disposizione anche di diverse nazioni che ne hanno avuto bisogno a seguito di situazioni di grandi crisi», momenti che hanno messo in pericolo il loro patrimonio culturale e tanto per fare un solo esempio numerico, questo Nucleo dell'Arma ha recuperato fino a oggi circa 750mila beni culturali fra opere e reperti.

«Questa Task force contrasta la strategia del terrore seguendo un'azione tipicamente italiana che viene della strategia anti-terrorismo - ha sottolineato il ministro Gentiloni che riferendosi all'Isis ha continuato - Va contro quelle azioni che colpiscono luoghi-simbolo per eliminare la cultura di nazioni e, obiettivo ancora più insidioso, per cancellare la diversità e la pluralità che hanno caratterizzato e caratterizzano le civiltà e i popoli o la "pulizia culturale" dell'Isis in Medio Oriente, con le persecuzioni delle minoranze cristiane e yazide».

L'Unite for heritage può contare su circa 30 carabinieri specializzati e altri 30 tra storici dell’arte, studiosi, restauratori dell’Istituto Centrale del Restauro e dell’Opificio delle Pietre Dure di Firenze. Presto anche anche professori universitari che vogliono partecipare all'azione del gruppo. Da qui la scuola di formazione a Torino, anche questa nata oggi con la sigla del sindaco della città, Fassino.

Il capoluogo piemontese ospita già lo Staff College delle Nazioni Unite. Il nuovo centro di formazione dedicato ai Caschi Blu della Cultura si chiamerà Itrech (International Training and Research Center of Economies of Culture and World Heritage), fondato anche dall’Università degli Studi, il Politecnico, l’ILO/OIT, il Consorzio Venaria Reale e il Centro Studi Santagata che è storico collaboratore dell'Unesco. L’Itrech avrà come base il Campus delle Nazioni Unite che oggi dà sede anche al Centro Internazionale di Formazione dell’Organizzazione Internazionale del Lavoro, allo Staff College e all’Unicri, agenzia Onu per la lotta alla criminalità (United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute).

«Siamo testimoni oggi di un dramma a livello mondiale – ha detto Irina Bokova, direttore generale dell'Unesco nonché possibile nuovo segretario generale Onu – la distruzione del patrimonio culturale, il dramma della pulizia culturale delle minoranze etniche e di ciò che le caratterizza. L'entusiasmo nei confronti dell'Italia è grande perché questo Paese si è reso protagonista di questa nuova iniziativa che contrasterà la depredazione e la perdita del patrimonio mondiale, un'Italia che ha già 54 siti patrimonio dell'umanità, grandi ricercatori, studiosi e i carabinieri che tanto ci assistono con la loro opera».

«Avverto oggi un grande senso di responsabilità per l'apertura di un nuovo capitolo per la protezione del patrimonio culturale - ha concluso la Bokova - Stiamo lanciando oggi un grande messaggio. Ecco le nostre risposte contro l'estremismo, risposte che devono essere la ricostruzione di un mausoleo, il restauro degli scritti della sapienza islamica, dalla matematica all'astronomia, la ricostruzione del ponte di Mostar».


Come specificato anche dal ministero, l'Unite For Heritage non agirà sui fronti di guerra perché la gestione dei conflitti non rientra nel campo operativo del gruppo. I Caschi Blu della cultura non saranno schierati, per esempio, a difesa dell'antica città di Palmira difendendola dall’Isis ma, su specifica richiesta dell’Onu, interverranno in momenti di gravi crisi civili, come durante un terremoto, ad esempio quello del Nepal, per porre riparo a emergenze legate al Patrimonio, oppure verificheranno i danni a opere e siti archeologici dopo un conflitto e dopo il ritiro delle truppe coinvolte. Potranno predisporre il trasferimento in luoghi di sicurezza di opere che potrebbero essere in pericolo e, naturalmente, contrastare i depredatori e trafficanti di reperti utilizzando ogni strumento, compreso il vastissimo database dei Carabinieri TPC che sta alla base di un vasto programma Interpol per la protezione del patrimonio culturale.










The UN's Blue Helmets for Culture Initiative Has Been Signed in Rome


During the joint UNESCO - Italy press conference in Rome this morning a new task force has been formalized to create an international training center for the Blue Helmets for Culture (Italian: 'Caschi Blu' della Cultura).  This body of officers will be tasked with the protections of the world's cultural patrimony.   The agreement was signed at the city of Rome's Baths of Diocletian in the presence of the Mayor of Turin, Piero Fassino, Italy's Foreign Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, Italy's Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini and the director general of UNESCO, Irina Bokova.

 Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova
Image Credit: Giuseppe Grifeo Di Partanna,
Journalist, Il Tempo and www.di-roma.com
Working with a mixed composition of specialized personnel including approximately 30 civilian experts (historians, scholars, restorers of the Central Institute of Restoration in Rome and the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence) and 30 officers from Italy's art crime squad, the Carabinieri per la Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale the training center will be based in Turin and called "ITRECH" (International Training and Research Center of Economies of Culture and World Heritage).  

Earlier this week Bokova stated that “the establishment of a Task Force bringing together cultural heritage experts and the Italian Carabinieri force specialized in the fight against the illicit trafficking in cultural property will enhance our capacity to respond to future emergencies.”

The project will be located at the city of Turin's Campus of the United Nations and will serve to build capacity by assessing cultural heritage risks and quantifying damage.  It will also work to develop action plans as well as towards providing technical supervision and training to local national staff of countries in conflict. 

The Blue Helmets for Culture Unit will also assist in the transfer of movable heritage to safe zones  when and where possible and will work to strengthen the fight against looting and illicit trafficking of antiquities. The overarching goal of the initiative is to protect cultural and religious pluralism within a framework of international action to combat terrorism.

Carabinieri per la Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale Task Force
Image Credit: Giuseppe Grifeo Di Partanna 
Journalist, Il Tempo and www.di-roma.com
The Turin training site, located at Viale dei Maestri del Lavoro 10, in Turin, Italy is already an international training campus for other International and UN groups such as UNICRI - United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, the ITCILO, the Italian training arm of the International Labour Organization (ILO),  and the UNSSC – United Nations System Staff College.

By:  Lynda Albertson, CEO, ARCA

"ITRECH"
(International Training and Research Center of Economies of Culture and World Heritage) 
Italy's Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini
Image Credit: Giuseppe Grifeo Di Partanna 
Journalist, Il Tempo and www.di-roma.com
Celebrating the signing of the Blue Helmets for Culture Accord
Image Credit: Giuseppe Grifeo Di Partanna 
Journalist, Il Tempo and www.di-roma.com

October 11, 2012

The Journal of Art Crime, Fall 2012: "Getting Governments to Cooperate Against Looting: Insights from the American and British Experience" by Asif Efrat

In the Fall 2012 electronic issue of The Journal of Art Crime, Asif Efrat writes on "Getting Governments to Cooperate against Looting: Insights from the American and British Experience":
Why would countries that had long resisted the efforts against archaeological plunder reverse course and join these efforts?  The article solves this puzzle by examining the American and British decisions to join the 1970 UNESCO Convention.  Initially skeptical of UNESCO's endeavors, the United States and Britain changed their policies and came to support the international efforts in the early 1970s and early 2000s, respectively.  I argue that the two countries' policy shifts had similar causes.  First, archaeologists advocacy made policymakers aware of the damage caused by the illicit antiquities trade and the art world's complicity.  Second, public scandals exposed unethical behavior in the American and British art markets and demonstrated the need for regulation.  Third, the U. S. and British governments established domestic consensus in favor of regulation through advisory panels that included the major stakeholders: archaeologists, dealers, and museums.  Yet because of divergent bureaucratic attitudes, the U. S. government has ultimately been more vigorous in its efforts against the illicit antiquities trade than has the British government.
Dr. Efrat is Assistant Professor of Governmnet at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Israel.  He received his Ph.D. in government from Harvard University and has taught at Cornell Law School.  His book Governing Guns, Preventing Plunder: International Cooperation against Illicit Trade has been published by Oxford University Press.

Here's a link to the ARCA website and more information about subscribing to The Journal of Art Crime.