Chapter 3 - Abstract and author bios

3. The Criminalisation of the Illicit Trade in Cultural Property

Ana Filipa Vrdoljak

This chapter considers the criminalisation of illicit traffic of cultural objects in international law by focussing on two unrelated, recent events. Part One examines the discovery of a horde of artworks in Germany in 2012 to highlight the systematic confiscation of artworks by the Nazi regime in the mid-twentieth century, the complicity of art dealers and auction houses, and its legacy. Part Two details the international community’s response to recent atrocities committed in Iraq and Syria and funded by illicit activities including the looting and trade in cultural objects. In 1943 and 2015, the international community condemned such acts, and put those engaged in these activities on notice that they would be held accountable, and that these transfers of property would not be recognised as licit.

Ana Filipa Vrdoljak is Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney. She is the author of International Law, Museums and the Return of Cultural Objects (CUP, 2006) and editor of Culture and Human Rights (OUP, 2013) and International Law for Common Goods: Normative Perspectives in Human Rights, Culture and Nature (Hart, 2014). She is co-General Editor of the Oxford University Press book series Cultural Heritage Law and Policy and member of the Advisory Board of the International Journal of Cultural Property. She is a member of the Cultural Heritage Law Committee, International Law Association and secretary of the International Cultural Property Society.