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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Watch Live: Monuments Men Awarded Congressional Gold Medal

The Monuments Men will be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal today. Watch it live beginning at 3 p.m. today by clicking on the video box below.

UPDATE - The broadcast is now archived in the video below. The recording has intermittent audio and video problems. Please be patient.

Senate and House leaders of both political parties will bestow Congress's highest civilian award to the team of men and women who, during World War II, sought to preserve cultural heritage from destruction.

Both legislative chambers on Capitol Hill passed the Monuments Men Recognition Act in May 2014, which the president enacted into law on June 9, 2014.




Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX-12) was a primary sponsor of the legislation. Some of the lawmaker's remarks to members of the House appear in the video below.



Text copyrighted 2015 by Cultural Heritage Lawyer, a blog commenting on matters of cultural heritage law, cultural heritage policy, antiquities trafficking, and museum risk management. Blog url: culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.com. Any unauthorized reproduction or retransmission of this post without the express written consent of CHL is prohibited. CHL is a project of Red Arch Cultural Heritage Law & Policy Research, Inc.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

2016 National Cultural Heritage Law Moot Court Competition: Registration is Now Open!

The Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation and DePaul University College of Law once again will host the annual National Cultural Heritage Law Moot Court Competition. Registration is now open.

Oral arguments will be held on February 26 and 27 at the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, Illinois.

The 2016 Competition will focus on the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and other procedural issues raised by a lawsuit brought by the Acropolis Museum against the British Museum seeking restitution to Greece of the Elgin Marbles/Parthenon Marbles.

The competition is open to 26 two- and three-member law student teams The registration deadline is November 19, 2015.

Visit the competition website at go.depaul.edu/chmoot for additional details or to register a team. Contact the Competition Board at chmoot@gmail.com with any questions.

Attorneys interested in serving as judges or brief graders should contact chmootjudges@gmail.com. CLE credit is available for attorneys who participate as judges.

Photo credit: Patrik Rzezwicki

Text copyrighted 2015 by Cultural Heritage Lawyer. Blog url: culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.com. Any unauthorized reproduction or retransmission of this post without the express written consent of CHL is prohibited. CHL is a project of Red Arch Cultural Heritage Law & Policy Research, Inc.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fossil Smuggler Sentenced

Microraptor fossil recovered by ICE.
Fossil smuggling has been an area of law enforcement success for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The investigative arm of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rarely generates heritage trafficking cases that lead to prosecutions. But court cases against Jun Yang, Eric Prokopi and John Richard Rolater have been noteworthy exceptions.

HSI's latest achievement is a plea deal concluded by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Wyoming with Charles Magovern of Boulder, Colorado, who was convicted of fossil smuggling.

Following the terms of the agreement, a federal district court last week sentenced Magovern to probation for illegally importing dinosaur specimens into the United States from China and Mongolia.

The felony information filed by Assistant United States Attorney Stuart Healy, III charged Magovern with willfully and knowingly importing paleontological material "by means of false statements and false papers, to wit, customs import declarations ... were false and fraudulent in that they did reflect as the purchase price of said merchandise a value which was less than the purchase price of said merchandise." Magovern, along with "fossil retailer" John Richard Rolater and another conspirator, "did knowingly aid and abet each other in the commission of this offense," the information further charged. The violations constituted offenses against 18 USC §§ 542 and 2.

ICE reported that the illegal imports were concealed "within legitimate cargo."

According to a press release issued by the agency, the smuggled objects included fossils dating as far back as 151 million years. They consisted of:
Fossil
Anchiornis fossil recovered by ICE.
Part of the sentence included Magovern's agreement to forfeit "fossils already provided by the defendant" to ICE.

Magovern appears to have cooperated with authorities given his waiver of grand jury indictment, the quickness between the filing of the criminal complaint in July to the time of sentencing, and the actual terms of the sentence.

Photo credits: ICE

Text copyrighted 2015 by Cultural Heritage Lawyer. Blog url: culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.com. Any unauthorized reproduction or retransmission of this post without the express written consent of CHL is prohibited. CHL is a project of Red Arch Cultural Heritage Law & Policy Research, Inc.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Full Video: $5 Million Reward Announced at Conflict Antiquities Symposium Focused on ISIS Terror Funding

Evidence seized during a raid in May by U.S. Special Operations Forces on the compound of an ISIS leader shows that the terror organization engages in antiquities trafficking. The cultural objects recovered from the raid, in part, prompted CHL to post "Steering Clear of ISIS Loot: Don't Buy, Apply Strict Due Diligence."

Last week at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the State Department revealed more direct evidence acquired from that raid and announced a reward of up to $5 million dollars for credible information leading to the significant disruption of the illegal trade in antiquities that benefits ISIS.

Robert Hartung, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security and Assistant Director for Threat Investigations and Analysis Directorate, announced the reward at a symposium held on September 29 and titled "Conflict Antiquities: Forging a Public/Private Response to Save the Endangered Patrimony of Iraq and Syria." Video of that symposium is now available and can be watched below.


Text copyrighted 2015 by Cultural Heritage Lawyer. Blog url: culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.com. Any unauthorized reproduction or retransmission of this post without the express written consent of CHL is prohibited. CHL is a project of Red Arch Cultural Heritage Law & Policy Research, Inc.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

State Department Extends Cultural Property MoU with Nicaragua Despite AAMD Opposition

Earlier this year the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) shifted its stance on bilateral agreements authorized by the Cultural Property Implementation Act (CPIA) when the group decisively opposed the renewal of U.S. import restrictions covering endangered archaeological material coming from Nicaragua. The State Department disagreed with the AAMD, and today backed a fresh memorandum of understanding (MoU) that extends these protective trade barriers for another five years.

Writing in opposition to Nicaragua's petition for a rejuvenated MoU, the AAMD argued in January that the Central American nation "simply fails to protect its own cultural property in the manner required by the CPIA."

The CPIA is the federal law that authorizes the enactment of heritage protection measures consistent with the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

"Refusing to extend the MOU could be the very wake-up call Nicaragua needs to undertake real and substantial efforts at a critical time in its history," the AAMD contended in a statement submitted to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC), the group that reviews MoU requests.

The State Department's Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, however, "determined that factors continue to warrant the imposition of import restrictions and no cause for suspension exists," the Federal Register reported. "Accordingly, these import restrictions will remain in effect for an additional 5 years, and the CBP [Customs and Border Protection] regulations are being amended to reflect this extension until October 20, 2020."

The import controls cover pre-Hispanic artifacts including ceramics, vessels, statues, mace heads, jewelry, and more. Similar barriers were first erected fifteen years ago in an effort to deter the looting of archaeological objects.

Text copyrighted 2015 by Cultural Heritage Lawyer. Blog url: culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.com. Any unauthorized reproduction or retransmission of this post without the express written consent of CHL is prohibited. CHL is a project of Red Arch Cultural Heritage Law & Policy Research, Inc.