Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Prosecutors Discuss Antiquities Trafficking at International Conference

IAP President James Hamilton of Ireland.
Global antiquities trafficking is a crime that often goes undetected, unreported, uninvestigated, and unprosecuted. That was the message conveyed to over 400 prosecutors from approximately 80 countries during last week's convention of the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) in Bangkok, Thailand. The conference focused on organized crime.

Antiquities trafficking was featured during a panel examining commodities crime and its funding of organized criminal networks. It was a privilege for me to have been invited to address the conference.

Prosecutors in attendance were informed about operating techniques used by artifacts traffickers, and how cultural contraband remains visible in the stream of commerce after being illegally dug up, transported, smuggled, laundered, and sold. 

"Impunity undermines the rule of law," said UN Special Rapporteur Gabiela Knaul as she advocated for accountability of organized crime participants. One method of enforcement suggested by Kier Starmer, head of the United Kingdom's Crown Prosecution Service, is to prosecute offenders and seize criminal assets, followed by post-conviction financial reporting by defendants in order to deter repeat offenses.

One of the IAP's stated objectives is "to improve cooperation between prosecutors to more readily combat international criminality."

This post is researched, written, and published on the blog Cultural Heritage Lawyer Rick St. Hilaire at culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.com. Text and photo copyrighted 2012 by Ricardo A. St. Hilaire, Attorney & Counselor at Law, PLLC. Any unauthorized reproduction or retransmission of this post is prohibited. CONTACT: www.culturalheritagelawyer.com