Friday 1 April 2022

Council of Europe Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property

Press release, Strassbourg: Entering into force of the Council of Europe Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property 31/03/2022

Opened for signature in Nicosia, the Council of Europe Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property enters into force on 1 April 2022.
The Council of Europe’s Nicosia Convention puts cultural heritage at the heart of its mission and provides for a criminal justice response to the criminal offences relating to cultural property. It is the only international legal instrument aiming at preventing and combating the destruction, damage and trafficking of cultural property by providing for the criminalisation of certain acts. It establishes a number of criminal offences such as theft and other forms of unlawful appropriation, unlawful excavation and removal, illegal importation and exportation and illegal acquisition and placing on the market. It also criminalises the falsification of documents and the destruction or damage of cultural property when committed intentionally. Also open for signature to non-member countries of the Council of Europe, the Nicosia Convention aims at a global approach by national authorities to fight transnational organised crime and therefore provides for legal measures and concrete tools to harmonise national standards around the world on serious offences relating to the destruction, deterioration or loss of cultural property. It also invites countries to establish a central national authority tasked with co-ordinating the activities related to the protection of cultural property and asks them to engage in international consultation and the exchange of information. The entry into force of the Nicosia Convention represents a step forward in the action against offences related to cultural property and contributes to the protection of our common cultural heritage.
Convention's text here. There are some, at first sight, interesting principles established here (in addition to the explanatory report, see Mateusz Bieczyński's 2017 text 'The Nicosia Convention 2017: A New International Instrument Regarding Criminal Offences against Cultural Property' Santander Art and Culture Law Review 2/2017 (3): 255-274 . According to Article 7, cultural property that was stolen, excavated, removed, imported, or exported cannot legally be an object of acquisition. More interestingly it defines (Article 8) the offence of “placing of the cultural property on the market”, this covers
all acts of supplying illicitly-traded cultural property, as well as publicly offering such cultural property for sale (Paragraph 61). It refers directly to all kinds of commercial offers – official or unofficial (the so-called black market) – such as flea markets, antique shops, and auction houses, as well as online markets and social networks (Paragraph 62). This can be considered as a step forward to a better legal substantiation of “good faith” in relation to the acquisition of cultural material. Accordingly, this presumption will not refer to situations when cultural property has been acquired from an untested source.
Despite the Convention existing now for almost five years, the uptake has been slow. Only Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia and Mexico have ratified it, while Armenia, Montenegro, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Ukraine, and the Russian Federation have signed it. The latter however is "considered suspended as from 16 March 2022". Great Britain, as usual, has refused to participate, despite signature being open to non-EU members.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.