Monday, 4 June 2012

US Government Case SLAMMED

As"Cultural Heritage Lawyer" Rick St. Hilaire reports ('Motion Denied: Missouri Court Forces Prosecution to Consider Appealing the St. Louis Art Museum Ka Nefer Case') the Federal court for the eastern district of the United States has denied the US Government's motion for reconsideration of its order dismissing a forfeiture action filed against a mummy mask stolen from an Egyptian Museum collection which is being  aggressively held on to by the St. Louis Art Museum (SLAM).
Judge Henry Autrey's May 30, 2012 order denied the U.S. Attorney's Motion for Reconsideration and extended the time for the government to file an appeal with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan will now have to decide whether to let the district court dismissal of the forfeiture case stand or whether to appeal to a higher court.
One wonders just how this squares with the obligations of the United States under Articles 7 (b) ii and 8 of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.  As for the laughably antiquated 'Convention on Cultural Property Implementation (sic) Act', articles 19 U.S.C. 2607-10 turn out to be a dead loss and not worth the paper they are printed on.

If the United States actually has no such capabilities, and this case shows clearly the US government has not, it should withdraw from the Convention which it has no ability to honour until it has overhauled its cultural property protection legislation in a way which makes it usable. What an absolute farce.

Photo: Judge Autrey, just doing his job


Rick St. Hilaire said...

FYI - a notice of appeal has now been filed by the U.S. Attorney.

Paul Barford said...

Yes, I know, but I assumed "notice of appeal" is not the appeal itself, so did not blog it. After all, there is a limit to the number of blow-by-blow, minute by minute posts one can make about this type of thing. It's like the coiney 'Baltimore illicit coin import stunt', just goes on and on...

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