Saturday, 25 October 2014

New legislation on the cards in Germany

German Culture Minister
Monika Grütters hopes to
amend existing legislation
New legislation on the cards in Germany:
The federal government aims to make it such that the import and trade of cultural goods to Germany will only be open to objects with an official export license from their country of origin. But that is not enough, warns Michael Müller-Karpe: The very attempt to import looted artifacts should be liable to prosecution. Currently, he said, it is not up to the dealers to prove that their goods are legal, so the authorities have to settle questions about the artifacts' legality. Existing law on the repatriation of cultural artifacts has greatly damaged Germany's reputation, Grütters says. The new law is scheduled to come into effect in 2016. In the meantime, the minister expects the influential antique dealers' lobby will try to put pressure on Berlin. Mainz forensic archeologist Michael Müller-Karpe hopes that unlike in 2007, the government will not waver, but withstand the pressure.
And it is up to all who care about the preservation of the world's archaeological sites (and that includes UK metal detectorists who say they are "passionately interested in preserving the past") to do everything they can to help uphold German lawmakers' resolve to deal with the plague of artefact looting and smuggling.

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