Category Archives: Cultural Heritage

Ancient crown to be returned to Turkey in out-of-court settlement

Posted on: December 12, 2017 by Holly Woodhouse

A golden crown dating from the fourth-century BC will be returned to Turkey following an out-of-court settlement between a Turkish national residing in Scotland and the Government of Turkey. The crown, reported to have been valued at £250,000, was in the possession of Edinburgh café owner Murat Aksakalli, who claimed to have inherited it from […]

IAL training course for Qatar Museums

Posted on: November 24, 2017 by Alexander Herman

The Institute of Art & Law was in Doha, Qatar last week providing an in-house training course on art, law and collections management for Qatar Museums, the governmental body that oversees the state-owned museums in the small Persian Gulf state. The course included one day on intellectual property and collections, another on contracts, acquisitions and […]

New project to study Unidroit Convention on return of cultural objects

Posted on: October 30, 2017 by Amoury Groenen

On 27 October 2017, the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law – hereinafter Unidroit – officially launched the 1995 Unidroit Convention Academic Project (UCAP). The project – which was first announced during a special event on “Promoting and Strengthening the international legal framework for the protection of cultural heritage” held on 28 February […]

US leaves UNESCO

Posted on: October 23, 2017 by Emily Gould

Following the series of controversial decisions for which the Trump administration has come to be known, this month the US Department of State has notified the UNESCO Director-General of its decision to withdraw from the organisation. Amongst the reasons presented are ‘concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO’, ‘the need for fundamental reform in the organisation’ […]

Evidencing threats to heritage in conflict zones

Posted on: September 11, 2017 by Emily Gould

“Scientists shoot rocks!” This was the opening line of a fascinating discussion exploring innovative methods of evidencing the destruction of cultural heritage in conflict zones held at the V&A last Friday evening (8 September). The event was part of the V&A’s ‘Culture in Crisis’ programme which seeks to raise awareness of the need to protect […]

Commentary on prosecution of UK man for antiquities smuggling

Posted on: August 30, 2017 by Andrew Swait

A UK man, Toby Robyns, was apprehended ten days ago by Turkish authorities, as he tried to leave Turkey with a dozen coins. He had found the coins with his children on the seabed while snorkelling. He is still in prison, awaiting a decision by the Turkish courts. Our Assistant Director, Alexander Herman, was interviewed […]

Reparations ordered in Timbuktu destruction case

Posted on: August 22, 2017 by Alexander Herman

Last week, the International Criminal Court in the Hague pronounced on the amount in reparations to be paid in last year’s Al Mahdi case. And it was a hefty sum: €2.7 million has been levied against the defendant, Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, for his role in overseeing the destruction of ten cultural monuments in […]

Combating heritage crime: the international perspective

Posted on: August 9, 2017 by Emily Gould

As promised in our post last week, having looked at developments in the fight against heritage crime in the UK, we’re now turning our attention to the international context. We were considering in particular a number of interesting developments across a range of disciplines: the law, military practice, technology and community engagement. As regards the […]

Combating heritage crime: recent developments in the UK and around the globe

Posted on: July 31, 2017 by Emily Gould

Rarely a day goes by, it seems, without another concerning and saddening story about cultural heritage destruction. Whether it is the devastation of ancient sites in war-ravaged states such as Syria, Libya or Yemen or the ruin of yet another village church in the UK through lead theft, the loss is felt far and wide, […]

Destruction of the Mosul mosque and the challenges of international law

Posted on: June 30, 2017 by Alexander Herman

Yesterday, during what appears to be the near-conclusion of the battle for Mosul in Iraq, Iraqi forces moved further into the centre of the old town and, as they did, came across the ruins of the famed al-Nuri Mosque. The 12th century mosque, the same holy site where the ISIS caliphate had been proclaimed in […]