Showing posts with label Award for Art Protection and Security. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Award for Art Protection and Security. Show all posts

April 12, 2014

Dr. Daniela Rizzo and Mr Maurizio Pellegrini Win ARCA's 2014 Art Protection & Recovery Award

Dr. Daniela Rizzo and Mr Maurizio Pellegrini, Soprintendenza Beni Archeologici Etruria Meridionale at the Villa Giulia, have won ARCA's 2014 Art Protection & Recovery Award. Past winners have included: Vernon Rapley and Francesco Rutelli (2009), Charlie Hill and Dick Drent (2010), Lord Colin Renfrew and Paolo Giorgio Ferri (2011), Karl von Habsburg, Dr. Joris Kila Ernst Schöller (2012), Sharon Cohen Levin and Christos Tsirogiannis (2013).

Dott.ssa Daniela Rizzo and Maurizio Pellegrini are employees of Italy’s Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism (MiBACT) who work directly for the Soprintendenza for Southern Etruria's Archeological Heritage which covers the archaeological territories of Cerveteri, Tarquinia, Vulci, Veio, Lucas Feroniae, Civitavecchia, Sutri , Tuscania, Pyrgi, Volsinii and San Lorenzo Nuovo. Dr. Rizzo oversees the department of Goods Control and Circulation with the assistance of Massimo Pellegrini. Their offices are located at the National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia. One of the main commitments of their department and the Soprintendenza overall is the fighting of criminal activities and illegal traffic of archaeological objects from the southern territories.

In 1985 the Soprintendenza set up a special service, "The Office of confiscation and illicit excavations" (ufficio sequestri e scavi clandestini), which constantly monitors the phenomenon of illegal excavations and the finds of illegal trafficking. To achieve this goal, their office began working closely with Italy’s National Judicial Authority and the security forces (Carabinieri TPC and Guardia di Finanza), which work together in this sector. This collaboration aims to recover Italian archaeological materials that have been taken away illegally from the national territory and often have ended up in important foreign collections. Since 1995, their work has achieved very positive results and has resulted in the identification of numerous archaeological objects taken illegally and found in a number of American and European museums or in private collections abroad. Based on the inspection of and matching between confiscated photographs and documents, their investigations have facilitated negotiations between American and European museums which have often concluded in important cultural agreements rather than lengthy judicial prosecutions. Thanks to these agreements, archaeological finds are regularly being returned to Italy from places like New York and Boston. Through their in-depth work, the famous Euphronios crater, now on display in the new rooms of Villa Giulia, has been recognized as property of the Italian state and was returned to Rome in 2008 from the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Similar agreements have been concluded with the Princeton University Art Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the J.P. Getty Museum of Malibu. In cases where traffickers have been identified their work with the "Procura della Repubblica" (Italian prosecutor's office) and the Court of Rome has made it possible, in some circumstances, to try specific cases associated with illegal trafficking of antiquities within Italy. Cases of note include the exemplary punishment imposed by the Court of Rome on an Italian trafficker, who operated in Switzerland and the 2005 criminal proceedings that were initiated against Marion True, the former curator who purchased trafficked archaeological objects for The Paul Getty Museum, and cases involving Robert Hecht. As a result of their work and the recovery of objects, a room in the Villa Giulia has housed a temporary traveling exhibition to increase the public’s awareness to the impact of trafficking, the significance of the problem and what is being done to combat it. The carefully curated exhibition included numerous objects which have been repatriated from Southern Etruria as well as examples of documents used in their ongoing investigations and prosecutions by the Italian authorities.

March 26, 2014

Nominees for ARCA's 2014 Award for Art Protection & Recovery Announced

Here are the nominees for ARCA's 2014 Award for Art Protection & Recovery, which is usually given to a police officer, investigator, lawyer, security director or policy-maker. This year ARCA has combined two of the previous year’s awards categories as more often than not, individuals were double nominated in two award categories.

Past winners have included: Vernon Rapley and Francesco Rutelli (2009), Charlie Hill and Dick Drent (2010), Lord Colin Renfrew and Paolo Giorgio Ferri (2011), Karl von Habsburg, Dr. Joris Kila Ernst Schöller (2012), Sharon Cohen Levin and Christos Tsirogiannis (2013).

The Nominees for the 2014 Award for Art Protection & Recovery Award are:

Monica Dugot, Senior Vice President and International Director of Restitution, Christie’s Auction House. Nominator's Synopsis: "In her more than 17 years of practice in the restitution field, Ms. Dugot has been instrumental in resolving major claims and in developing international policies in this area. Under her guidance, Christie’s was one of the first auction houses to publish on its website a detailed explanation of its practices with regard to claims to artworks consigned for auction. In so doing, Ms. Dugot has led the way in prescribing for claimants and possessors alike the manner by which claims could be resolved without the need for litigation, especially in emotionally fraught cases involving Nazi-looted art. She would be a worthy addition to ARCA’s illustrious list of past recipients of this award."
Monica Dugot is responsible for coordinating Christie's restitution issues globally. She and her team of researchers vet nearly every lot Christie’s offers at auction, which means somewhere in the region of 200 sales a year, from Old Masters and Books to Impressionist and Modern Art focusing on provenance between 1933 and 1945; to identify possibly spoliated but unrestituted objects; and to help in resolving restitution claims for works consigned for sale. 
Prior to joining Christie's, Ms. Dugot served for almost eight years as Deputy Director of the New York State Banking Department's Holocaust Claims Processing Office, where she coordinated the Art Claims branch of the HCPO's work and assisted owners and heirs in seeking to recover art collections that were lost or looted during the Nazi era. She has represented New York State on art restitution matters at many venues including the 1998 Washington Forum on Holocaust-Era Assets and the International Conference on Holocaust Era Looted Cultural Assets in Vilnius, Lithuania. Ms. Dugot is on the Advisory Board of Claremont McKenna College’s Center for Human Rights Leadership, and the Society of American Friends of the Jewish Community Vienna. She is currently a member of the Art law Commission of the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA). She also served as a member of the NYC Bar Association's Art Law Committee.
Martin Finkelnberg – Special Investigating Officer, Art and Antique Crime Unit of the Netherlands. Nominator's Synopsis: "Martin was the only art detective in the Dutch police force, and was assigned, pretty much on his own, to set up the force’s first arts unit. He runs it now with several part-time officers who are art historians, and yet he has great success in coordinating art-related cases from throughout the Netherlands and abroad."
Martin Finkelnberg is the Head of the Art and Antiques Crime Unit of the National Criminal Intelligence Division which is part of the recently reorganized National Police Force of the Netherlands. He joined the police force in 1976 as a junior intelligence officer and for roughly 30 years was mainly involved in firearms investigations and counter terrorism. 
In 2006 he was asked to build a national database on stolen works of art. At the same time he also had to restart the Art and Antiques Crime Unit that had been discontinued in 2002. Today this unit is composed of four individuals. Over the course of the years Finkelnberg also felt necessity to establish contact points within each police region. In 2013 this led to the appointment of not only ten dedicated police officers -- one in every region -- but also to a dedicated national public prosecutor. These are however not experts and they are being trained on a regular basis by Finkelnberg and others on legislation, awareness of the importance of preserving cultural heritage, and on criminal trends and activities. The unit, in principal, is not an investigating body itself but an intelligence hub for the regional police forces who are responsible for carrying out criminal investigations. 
However, because of the complexity of Dutch legislation regarding illegal trade in cultural property, Martin Finkelnberg occasionally goes out on the road himself. During several of these occasions and in close cooperation with the Cultural Heritage Inspection, he recovered more than 70 items from Iraq, some of them dating back to 5,000 B.C.. He and his unit also proved to be instrumental in solving many major museum break-ins such as the Hofje van Mevrouw van Aerden Museum in 2011 in which case the police recovered a 15 Million euro painting by Frans Hals; and the Museum Gouda where in 2012 the burglars used an explosive device to blow up the front door of the museum (In this case the unit was also able to establish links between these suspects and another museum break-in in 2009 and to them identifying several other museums as possible targets).
(Jointly) Dr. Daniela Rizzo and Mr Maurizio Pellegrini, Soprintendenza Beni Archeologici Etruria Meridionale. Nominator’s Synopsis: "Pellegrini and Rizzo are well known for their groundbreaking forensic work from for the Italian government. During that period, they were responsible for identifying dozens of looted and smuggled masterpieces for the Italian judicial authorities from the confiscated archives of illicit antiquities dealers Giacomo Medici, Gianfranco Becchina, and Robin Symes, etc. Based on Pellegrini and Rizzo's meticulous research, the Italian state managed to repatriate numerous stolen treasures of antiquity and to have solid evidence for the prosecution of several members of the international illicit antiquities network. Their more recent work, while less well known to the general public, involves ongoing negotiation with museums around the globe encouraging them to return looted objects found in their collections."
Dott.ssa Daniela Rizzo and Maurizio Pellegrini are employees of Italy’s Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism (MiBACT) who work directly for the Soprintendenza for Southern Etruria's Archeological Heritage which covers the archaeological territories of Cerveteri, Tarquinia, Vulci, Veio, Lucas Feroniae, Civitavecchia, Sutri , Tuscania, Pyrgi, Volsinii and San Lorenzo Nuovo. Dr. Rizzo oversees the department of Goods Control and Circulation with the assistance of Massimo Pellegrini. Their offices are located at the National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia. One of the main commitments of their department and the Soprintendenza overall is the fighting of criminal activities and illegal traffic of archaeological objects from the southern territories. 
In 1985 the Soprintendenza set up a special service, "The Office of confiscation and illicit excavations" (ufficio sequestri e scavi clandestini), which constantly monitors the phenomenon of illegal excavations and the finds of illegal trafficking. To achieve this goal, their office began working closely with Italy’s National Judicial Authority and the security forces (Carabinieri TPC and Guardia di Finanza), which work together in this sector. This collaboration aims to recover Italian archaeological materials that have been taken away illegally from the national territory and often have ended up in important foreign collections. Since 1995, their work has achieved very positive results and has resulted in the identification of numerous archaeological objects taken illegally and found in a number of American and European museums or in private collections abroad. Based on the inspection of and matching between confiscated photographs and documents, their investigations have facilitated negotiations between American and European museums which have often concluded in important cultural agreements rather than lengthy judicial prosecutions. Thanks to these agreements, archaeological finds are regularly being returned to Italy from places like New York and Boston. 
Through their in-depth work, the famous Euphronios crater, now on display in the new rooms of Villa Giulia, has been recognized as property of the Italian state and was returned to Rome in 2008 from the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Similar agreements have been concluded with the Princeton University Art Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the J.P. Getty Museum of Malibu. In cases where traffickers have been identified their work with the "Procura della Repubblica" (Italian prosecutor's office) and the Court of Rome has made it possible, in some circumstances, to try specific cases associated with illegal trafficking of antiquities within Italy. Cases of note include the exemplary punishment imposed by the Court of Rome on an Italian trafficker, who operated in Switzerland and the 2005, criminal proceedings that were initiated against Marion True, the former curator who purchased trafficked archaeological objects for The Paul Getty Museum, and cases involving Robert Hecht. As a result of their work and the recovery of objects, a room in the Villa Giulia has housed a temporary traveling exhibition to increase the public’s awareness to the impact of trafficking, the significance of the problem and what is being done to combat it. The carefully curated exhibition included numerous objects which have been repatriated from Southern Etruria as well as examples of documents used in their ongoing investigations and prosecutions by the Italian authorities.
Roma Antonio Valdés– Public Prosecutor, Carrera Fiscal, Fiscalía de Santiago de Compostela, Spain Nominator’s Synopsis – "A public Prosecutor for the Government of Spain, he is an expert in legal international cooperation and crimes against cultural heritage. He was the public prosecutor in charge of the successful recovery of the Codex Calixtinus, a 12th-century illuminated manuscript from the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The Codex was stolen in July 2011, and successfully recovered in 2012 in the garage of a former employee of the Cathedral."
Roma Valdés holds a Licentiate in Law from the University of Alcalá, a PhD in Archaeology from the University de Santiago de Compostela, and a diploma in advanced studies in criminal law from the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Spain. He has been a prosecutor since 1994 and specializing in crimes against cultural Heritage since 2004. He also serves as a professor in procedural Law at the University of A Coruña and serves as a representative to Spain in some international conventions. He is the author of 5 Law books, 48 Law papers, 7 History books, and 43 History papers. Some of these documents can be accessed at: https://coruna.academia.edu/AntonioRomaValdes.
Below are a listing of significant art crime cases he has been a part of: 
- 2011-2014 Theft and recovery of the Codex Calxtinus. Investigation and prosecution of the theft of one of the main medieval books of Europe. 
- 2008-2014 Affaire Patterson II. The collection above was exported without authorization from Spain to Germany. The case implies another precedent, in this case of use of the most recent Framework Decisions of mutual recognition of judicial resolutions principle in Europe. Other cases were open to prosecute cases of illicit trade of cultural heritage. Now, there is a non guilty decision pending appeal. 
- 2007-2009 Affaire Patterson I. The case, followed mainly by Latin American media, implies the judicial international cooperation between the Republic of Peru and the Kingdom of Spain to send more than two thousand of Pre-Columbian objects, some of the with a great historic importance. After the Republic of Peru, other Latin American states claimed successfully another pieces. The case is the main precedent in legal cooperation among judicial authorities in the field of the restitution of cultural heritage. 
- 2009 Corrubedo. During March 2009, several British divers were condemned to damage a XIX c. boat sunk in the Galician coast. Another similar case is open now. 
- 2000-2004 Os Castriños. The owner destroyed an archaeological site to build a camping site. Besides the fine, the Spanish jurisdiction for the first time prohibited developing activities not directed to the diffusion of the archaeological culture. Since then to now, more cases were open to prosecute owners of buildings and sites that destroy them to sell new buildings.

July 9, 2013

"Cultural Heritage in the Crosshairs: Protecting Cultural Property during Conflict" provides case studies of Cultural Property Protection and the military

Dr. Joris D. Kila, University of Amsterdam, and James A. Zeidler, Colorado State University, edited Cultural Heritage in theCrosshairs: Protecting Cultural Property during Conflict (Brill Publications, May 2013).

Dr. Kila, co-recipient with Karl von Habsburg in 2012 of ARCA’s Art Protection and Security Award, attended the 2013 Art and Cultural Heritage Conference in Amelia last month. He has undertaken cultural rescue missions in Iraq, Macedonia, Egypt and Libya and is affiliated with several heritage organizations. In the Blue Shield Winner Heritage under Siege (Brill, 2012), Dr. Kila considered the practical feasibility of the 1954 Hague Convention. 

Dr. Zeidler is a Senior Research Scientist at Colorado State Univesity where he serves as Associate Director for Cultural Resources in the Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands (CEMMI). He has been involve din Cultural Resource Management on US military installations since 1992 and has provided cultural heritage awareness training to US troops deployed in the Middle East.
The protection of cultural property during times of armed conflict and social unrest has been an on-going challenge for military forces throughout the world even after the ratification and implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention and its two Protocols by participating nations. This volume provides a series of case studies and “lessons learned” to assess the current status of Cultural Property Protection (CPP) and the military, and use that information to rethink the way forward. The contributors are all recognized experts in the field of military CPP or cultural heritage and conflict, and all are actively engaged in developing national and international solutions for the protection and conservation of these non-renewable resources and the intangible cultural values that they represent.
Here’s a list of the chapters (the book can be purchased online; its discounted 25% through 31-12-2013 with the Action Code 50555):

Chapter 1: Introduction by Karl von Habsburg
Chapter 2: "Military involvement in Cultural Property Protection as part of Preventive Conservation" by Joris D. Kila
Chapter 3: "Respecting and Protecting Cultural Heritage in Peace Support Operations – a pragmatic approach" by Colonel Dr. Michael Pesendorfer
Chapter 4: "Cultural Property Protection and the Training Continuum in the US Department of Defense" by James A. Zeidler
Chapter 5: "Developing a Cultural Property Protection Training Program for ROTC: Methodology, Content, and Structure" by John A Valainis
Chapter 6: "Conflicting memory: The use of conflict archaeology sites as training for operational troops" by Richard Osgood
Chapter 7: "Developing a NATO Cultural Property Protection Capability" by CDR Michael Hallett
Chapter 8: "Aiming to Miss: Engaging with the Targeting Process as a means of Cultural Property Protection" by Michael Hallett
Chapter 9: "A Case Study in Cultural Heritage Protection in a Time of War" by CPT Benjamin A. Roberts and LTC Gary B. Roberts (Ret.)
Chapter 10: "Counterinsurgency: A Tool for Cultural Heritage?" by Cheryl White and Tommy Livoti
Chapter 11: "Heritage Destruction and Spikes in Violence: The Case of Iraq" by B. Isakhan
Chapter 12: "A Report on Archaeological Site Stability and Security in Afghanistan: The Lashkari Bazar Survey" by Matthieu J. Murdock and Carrie A. Hritz
Chapter 13: "Holy Places – Contested Heritage: Dealing with Cultural Heritage in the Region of Palestine From the Ottoman Period until Today" by Friedrich T. Schipper
Chapter 14: "Urban cultural heritage and armed conflict: the case of Beirut Central District" by Caroline A. Sandes
Chapter 15: "Antiquity & Conflict: Some Historical Remarks on a Matter of Selection" by Mirjam Hoijtink
Chapter 16: "Plundering Boys: A cultural criminology assessment on the power of cultural heritage as a cause for plunder in armed conflicts along history" by Marc Balcells (ARCA Alum).

March 26, 2013

Cambridge Researcher Christos Tsirogiannis Wins ARCA's 2013 Award for Art Protection and Security

Christos Tsirogiannis, a researcher at Cambridge University and formerly an archaeologist with the Greek ministries of Culture, Justice and Home Office, has won ARCA's 2013 Award for Art Protection and Security. Tsirogiannis provided evidence that a marble statue and three limestone busts had been trafficked by the antiquities dealer Giacomo Medici and Robin Symes, respectively, before appearing at an auction in Bonhams (London) in April 2010. All four antiquities were withdrawn from the auction due to this evidence.

This award usually goes to a security director or policy-maker. Past winners: Francesco Rutelli (2009); Dick Drent (2010); Lord Colin Renfrew (2011); and Karl von Habsburg and Dr. Joris Kila, Jointly (2012).

Tsirogiannis is completing his Ph.D thesis on the International Illicit Antiquities Network (“Unravelling the International Illicit Antiquities Network through the Robin Symes-Christos Michaelides archive and its international implications”). His thesis is a result of his extensive experience as a forensic archaeologist at the Greek Ministry of Culture (1998-2002 and 2004-2008), the Greek Ministry of Justice (2006-2007) and as the only forensic archaeologist at the Greek police Art Squad (Home Office, 2004-2008, having participated in more than 173 investigations cases and raids). His participation in a 6-member core of the Greek Task Force contributed to the successful claim of looted and stolen antiquities from institutions and individuals, such as the Getty Museum (2007), as well as the Shelby White and Leon Levy collection and the Cahn Gallery in Switzerland (2008). Among many cases, he considers most memorable the raids at the summer residence of Dr Marion True (former curator of antiquities at the Getty Museum) and at the premises of the top illicit antiquities dealers in the world, Robin Symes-Christos Michaelides, in the Cyclades, where the famous archive was discovered.

Over the last five years (2007-present), Tsirogiannis has been identifying looted and ‘toxic’ antiquities at the most prominent auction houses (e.g., Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Bonhams) and galleries (e.g., “Royal-Athena Galleries”), as part of a project with the renowned academics Professor David Gill (University Campus Suffolk) and Dr. Christopher Chippindale (University of Cambridge). Some of the results of his research have been already demonstrated in The Journal of Art Crime (“Polaroids from the Medici Dossier: Continued Sightings on the Market”, 2011:27-33, with Professor David Gill). This part of his research has contributed to the withdrawal of antiquities (e.g., Bonhams case, April 2010) and to the disclosure of many scandals in the field (e.g., Christie’s June 2010, April 2011, December 2011). Tsirogiannis’ primary aim is to notify governments to retrieve their stolen cultural property and to raise public awareness regarding antiquities trafficking, through media coverage of these cases.

March 12, 2013

Nominees for ARCA's 2013 Award for Art Protection and Security


Here are the four nominees for ARCA's 2013 Award for Art Protection and Security, which is usually given to a security director or policy-maker.  Past winners: Francesco Rutelli (2009), Dick Drent (2010), Lord Colin Renfrew (2011), Karl von Habsburg and Dr. Joris Kila, Jointly (2012).

The Original Four (4) Nominees for 2013 are:

Ton Cremers, Museum Security and Safety Consultant, founded Museum Security Network (MSN). Mr. Cremers is active in security and safety in museums, archives, libraries, churches with valuable collections, monuments, and old Dutch windmills for the past 30 years. He is the former director of security and safety of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and the founding director of the Museum Security Network. The MSN mailing list, presently a Google Group, was the first WWW list-serv dedicated to the subject of museum security and has been active for over 15 years. In those years over 45,000 messages have been send to some 1,000 subscribers (average) in more than 50 countries. Ton Cremers was one of the founding members of the Leiden network on trade in illegal antiquities, dedicated to the struggle against the illicit trade in art and antiquities. Other founding members: Neil Brody, Colin Renfrew a.o.'s.
Ton Cremers has been active in over 450 museums etc., in several European and African countries, such as Zimbabwe where he audited the security and safety of all national museums, national archives, and national galleries. Mr. Cremers  has published numerous articles in international magazines, and was the co-developer of a self-audit software tool with which museums are able to investigate their security and safety. Thus far Cremers is the first non-American to have received the prestigious Burke Award for the protection of cultural property.  His publication about emergency management in museums is a standard in the Dutch language world. At the moment Cremers is working on a new initiative to build a museum in Athens, Greece and is active in 17 museums on six islands in the Dutch Caribbean, teaching and training museum workers.
Sharon Cohen Levin, Chief of the Asset Forfeiture Unit in the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. Ms. Levin has been instrumental in securing the return of innumerable antiquities and other cultural property to foreign governments, and artworks and other cultural property to the families of Holocaust victims from whom they had been looted or subjected to forced sale by the Nazis.  In 2010, Ms. Levin's office resolved the case of United States v. Portrait of Wally with the Leopold Museum in Vienna.

Under Ms. Levin's guidance, the Asset Forfeiture Unit handles all criminal and civil forfeiture actions in the Southern District of New York.  These cases include the forfeiture of the proceeds of corporate and securities fraud, economic crime, cybercrime, health care fraud, international narcotics trafficking, terrorism, money laundering and public corruption.  In the past six years, the Southern District of New York has forfeited nearly $6 billion in crime proceeds.
AUSA Levin pioneered the use of federal forfeiture laws to recover and return stolen art and cultural heritage property. The SDNY Asset Forfeiture Unit has initiated dozens of proceedings under the forfeiture laws -- seizing and returning artwork and cultural property to the persons and nations who rightfully own them.  Notable examples include the forfeiture and repatriation of stolen paintings by Lavinia Fontana, Jean Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichtenstein, Serge Poliakoff, Anton Graff and Winslow Homer; drawings by Rembrandt and Duhrer; an Etruscan bronze statute dated circa 490 B.C.; an antique gold platter dated circa 450 B.C.; a rare Mexican manuscript; a medieval carved wood panel which was originally inside the historic Great Mosque in Dvrigi; an Ancient Hebrew Bible owned by the Jewish Community of Vienna and stolen during the Holocaust and most recently, a Tyrannosaurus Bataar skeleton looted from the Gobi desert in Mongolia.
Blanca Niño Norton is the founding president of ICOMOS Guatemala and the former vice president of the ICOMOS Scientific Committee on Vernacular Architecture.  She presently serves as a member of the Academic Advisory Committee of the Council of ICCROM, an intergovernmental organization (IGO) dedicated to the conservation of cultural heritage which exists to serve the international community as represented by its 132 Member States. Ms. Niño Norton is an architect and an advisor to the Guatemala Minister of Culture and a former member of the faculty of the School of Architecture of Francisco Marroquin University, Guatemala. Ms. Niño Norton has coordinated and promoted workshops on a variety of cultural themes and lectured on topics in including vernacular architecture, intangible heritage and illicit trafficking of cultural property. Her interest in the latter led her to create the Illicit Traffic Unit in the Guatemala Ministry of Culture. Ms. Niño Norton consults on national and international cultural heritage projects and is a Project Officer for Cultural Programs at UNESCO Guatemala. She also works on conservation projects for independent collections and museums. In addition to her architectural degree, Blanca Niño Norton holds a masters degree in diplomacy and completed her thesis on “The action of consular and diplomatic affairs in relation to illicit traffic” which received recognition as the best thesis on diplomatic studies.
As her early career progressed Blanca Niño Norton became the Vice President of the International Committee of CIAV within ICOMOS and worked on the international charter for its preservation.   During the early eighties she served to create ICOMOS Guatemala.
Blanca Niño Norton became motivated in this field having attended a private party once in Northern Italy where the owner of the house was proud of the stolen part of a column he had in his living room. It was a Guatemalan piece and she felt as if the object was stolen directly from her. Strongly motivated Blanca Niño Norton started working against illicit traffic of cultural property in 2000 and received a grant from the Getty Conservation Institute as a guest scholar. Since then she has also participated in the creation of the office of International Cooperation in the Ministry of Culture in Guatemala and created the office Against Illicit Traffic with the direct support of the Guatemala ministry.  This office was established to enhance communication at the ministry between Guatemalan Customs, the FBI, ICE, the Carabinieri TPC, and Scotland Yard.  In this capacity, she served as principle advisor for the Guatemalan Minister of Culture. In furtherance of that Blanca Niño Norton participated at the international meeting of UNESCO in Cambodia on the convention against illicit traffic of cultural property.  During this time Guatemala signed agreements with UNIDROIT, and the second protocol of Haya; becoming the first country in the region to have signed all of the international cooperation agreements.
Christos Tsirogiannis, a researcher at Cambridge University and formerly an archaeologist with the Greek ministries of Culture, Justice and Home Office provided evidence that a marble statue and three limestone busts had been trafficked by the antiquities dealer Giacomo Medici and Robin Symes, respectively, before appearing at an auction in Bonhams (London) in April 2010. All four antiquities were withdrawn from the auction due to this evidence. Mr. Tsirogiannis is completing his Ph.D thesis on the International Illicit Antiquities Network (“Unravelling the International Illicit Antiquities Network through the Robin Symes-Christos Michaelides archive and its international implications”). His thesis is a result of his extensive experience as a forensic archaeologist at the Greek Ministry of Culture (1998-2002 and 2004-2008), the Greek Ministry of Justice (2006-2007) and as the only forensic archaeologist at the Greek police Art Squad (Home Office, 2004-2008, having participated in more than 173 investigations cases and raids). His participation in a 6-member core of the Greek Task Force contributed to the successful claim of looted and stolen antiquities from institutions and individuals, such as the Getty Museum (2007), as well as the Shelby White and Leon Levy collection and the Cahn Gallery in Switzerland (2008).
Among many cases, he considers most memorable the raids at the summer residence of Dr. Marion True (former curator of antiquities at the Getty Museum) and at the premises of the top illicit antiquities dealers in the world, Robin Symes-Christos Michaelides, in the Cyclades, where the famous archive was discovered.  Over the last five years (2007-present), Tsirogiannis has been identifying looted and ‘toxic’ antiquities at the most prominent auction houses (e.g., Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Bonhams) and galleries (e.g., “Royal-Athena Galleries”), as part of a project with the renowned academics Professor David Gill (University Campus Suffolk) and Dr Christopher Chippindale (University of Cambridge). Some of the results of his research have been already demonstrated in The Journal of Art Crime (“Polaroids from the Medici Dossier: Continued Sightings on the Market”, 2011:27-33, with Professor David Gill). This part of his research has contributed to the withdrawal of antiquities (e.g., Bonhams case, April 2010) and to the disclosure of many scandals in the field (e.g., Christie’s June 2010, April 2011, December 2011). Tsirogiannis’ primary aim is to notify governments to retrieve their stolen cultural property and to raise public awareness regarding antiquities trafficking, through media coverage of these cases.

August 15, 2012

Q&A with Joris Kila and Karl von Habsburg in the Spring/Summer 2012 issue of The Journal of Art Crime

Editor-in-Chief Noah Charney features "Q&A with Joris Kila and Karl von Habsburg" in the Spring/Summer 2012 issue of The Journal of Art Crime. Kila and Habsburg are co-winners of the 2012 ARCA Award for Art Protection and Security. For more information about them, please see the article on ARCA Award winners in this issue.  Joris Kila answered questions on behalf of both parties.

Joris Kila is chairman of the International Military Cultural Resources Work Group. He is a researcher at the Institute of Culture and History of the University of Amsterdam, and a board member for civil-military relations with the World Association for the Protection of Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritage in Times of Armed Conflict (WATCH), based in Rome. Additionally, he is a former community fellow of the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago.  He is a member of the US Commands Cultural Historical Action Group and Chair of the International Cultural Resources Working Group. Until recently he served as network manager and acting chairman of the cultural affairs dept. at the Civil-Military Co-operation (CIMIC) Group North in the Netherlands. In that capacity he undertook several cultural rescue missions in Iraq and FYROM (Macedonia).
Noah Charney: Tell me about the Austrian Society for the Protection of Cultural Heritage and Blue Shield Austria. How did these initiatives begin and what are some of their current projects?
Joris Kila: The current Austrian situation concerning the implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention (1954 HC) for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, especially within the Austrian Armed Forces (AAF), is not the product of well-organized activity; it is rather the result of a number of individuals’ efforts while working in a variety of positions at the right time. A long time passed between Austria’s 1964 ratification of the 1954 Hague Convention, and its implementation and dissemination within the AAF. The first Austrian “military mission” in which cultural property protection (CPP) played a role, occurred in 1968 in the context of the “Prague Spring.” The Austrian government and military leaders expected Soviet troops to cross Austrian territory on their way to Prague, violating the country’s sovereignty and neutrality. Knowing that the Soviet troops could not be stopped by military force, Austria prepared for an invasion. By initiative of the Federal Bureau for Monuments and Sites (FBMS) and under the supervision of its provincial departments, hundreds of Blue Shields, the emblem of the 1954 HC, were distributed in districts of eastern and northern Austria and, through the active participation of gendarmerie and army officers, these were attached to historical or cultural monuments along the anticipated Soviet route through Austria. It was greatly feared that Soviet troops would not respect Austria’s rich cultural heritage, which had already suffered badly during World War II. 
The idea was that this time the enemy would at least be made aware of the fact that with every destructive step they took, they were likely to be violating international law. This form of resistance without force at the climax of the Cold War initiated the birth of some sort of “Blue Shield Movement” in Austria, which finally resulted in the foundation of the Austrian Society for the Protection of Cultural Property in 1980. This civil organization is still characterized by having many regular and militia army officers among its members who are entrusted with most of the positions on its steering board. The Society also played an initial and decisive role in setting up the Austrian National Committee of the Blue Shield in 2008. Therefore, both organizations – forming an interface between civil and military expertise as well as providing an unrivaled pool of experts within Austria – consequently have an interest and high competence in (today's) military CPP. 
You may read the rest of this interview in The Journal of Art Crime by subscribing through ARCA's website.

April 9, 2012

Karl von Habsburg and Dr. Joris Kila Jointly Win 2012 ARCA Award for Art Protection and Security

Joris Kila (right) in Tripoli on 29 September
ARCA (the Association for Research into Crimes against Art) is pleased to announce the winners of its annual awards for the year 2012. ARCA is an international research group that promotes the study of art crime cultural heritage protection, registered as a 501c3 in the United States and an Associazione Culturale in Italy.

ARCA presents four annual awards.  Nominations are made by ARCA staff, trustees, and members of the editorial board of ARCA’s peer-reviewed publication, The Journal of Art Crime.  The winners are decided by a vote of the trustees, and are presented at ARCA’s annual conference, held in Amelia, Italy on June 23 and 24 of this year. For more information about ARCA or to attend its annual conference, please contact Lynda Albertson: lynda.albertson (at) artcrimeresearch.org.

ARCA Award for Art Protection and Security
Past winners: Francesco Rutelli (2009), Dick Drent (2010), Lord Colin Renfrew (2011)
Shortlisted nominees: Matthew Bogdanos, Laurie Rush
2012 joint winners: Karl von Habsburg and Joris Kila

Karl von Habsburg is president of the Association of National Committees of the BlueShield and, jointly with Dr. Joris Kila, he runs the International MilitaryCultural Resources Work Group.

Habsburg is a former member of the European Parliament for Austria, and has specialized in International Humanitarian Law and Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection. A former air force pilot, he still serves in the reserve of the Austrian armed forces as a key Cultural Property Protection Officer. He is vice president of the Austrian Society for the Protection of Cultural Heritage and a founder of Blue Shield Austria. In addition to being a frequent lecturer, he is an author of several publications on the subject of Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection and Military Cultural Property Protection and has carried out multiple documentation missions in conflict zones.

Kila is chairman of the International Military Cultural Resources Work Group. He is a researcher at the Institute of Culture and History of the University ofAmsterdam, and a board member for civil-military relations with the WorldAssociation for the Protection of Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritage inTimes of Armed Conflict (WATCH), based in Rome. Additionally, he serves as a community fellow of the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago, is a member of the US Commands Cultural Historical Action Group and is Chair of the International Cultural Resources Working Group. Until recently he served as network manager and acting chairman of the cultural affairs dept. at the Civil-Military Co-operation (CIMIC) Group North in the Netherlands.  In that capacity he undertook several cultural rescue missions in Iraq and FYROM (Macedonia).

Habsburg and Kila are jointly awarded for their long-term service to the protection of cultural heritage in conflict zones.