Thursday, 27 December 2012

Derek Fincham on "Sentencing Antiquities Looters"

Derek Fincham has a text '' (27th Dec 2012) which is "a humble plea for a little sobriety when sentences of this nature are handed down".
Too many archaeologists and other advocates hop up and down and either rejoice at these strong sentences—or criticize probation and fines which are at the other end of this spectrum. 
He reminds us that sentencing policy is a very complicated field. Fincham says that:
In the United States and in many other nations the criminal justice system is an imperfect mechanism which too often is asked to accomplish things it cannot.
He calls it a "flawed system". I am glad he said that and not me. I really do not see  however what is so complicated in punishing criminals once they've been convicted. The problem is however that (especially when we are talking about the USA) those convictions are rare. When smuggled, looted artefacts are located and seized, the authorities crow about having the trophies in their hands, rather than the hands of criminals, but the latter are sitting at home reading about it in the newspaper free to organize getting fresh supplies of illicit items, and so it goes on.

This, Mr Fincham, is not a matter for the "source nations" to "step up" over, convicting and punishing culture crime carried out by US citizens in and from the US is clearly a matter for the US authorities to deal properly with - and be seen to be dealing properly with. By the way, when however did the "stakeholders" get a chance to "step up" in the Four Corners cases fiasco?


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