An Evolving Cultural Property Protection Model and the Cultural Heritage Law Moot Court Competition

Posted on February 28, 2011



Posting has been less frequent lately but I’ve been busy doing some  things that CPAL readers might find of interest.

First, on Feb. 18, I gave a presentation, “The Evolution of the Cultural Property Protection Model Toward a Human Rights Framework and the Implications for Sovereignty,” at the Michigan State University College of Law Journal of International Law’s 2011 Annual Symposium on Sovereignty in Today’s World. The presentation was part of a panel discussion, “The Effects of Human Rights Norms on Sovereignty.”  The symposium was excellent and it was great to meet the MSU students and faculty, and the faculty visitors that were also presenting. The presentations were filmed and I’ve inquired with MSU whether those recordings will be made available; if so, I will  share a link to the presentation here.

This past weekend, I served as a chief justice for the quarter finals for the National Cultural Heritage Law Moot Court Competition in Chicago, sponsored by the Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation (LCCHP) and DePaul University College of Law. The problem involved the Immunity from Seizure Act and the use of a laches defense in an action to recover Nazi-looted art. I learned a lot in the judging process, and it was nice reconnecting with some cultural property law friends at the lovely banquet on Saturday evening at the Union League Club. The professionalism and content of the student arguments was impressive.

I will be in DC this upcoming weekend for the Association for Law, Property and Society Annual Meeting, co-sponsored by Syracuse University College of Law & Georgetown University Law Center. I will be presenting my working paper on the evolution of the cultural property protection model from a property to a human rights framework.  I hope to have something in the realm of a share-able paper soon, but it will probably be a couple more months, as I’m currently using my sparse spare time to put the finishing touches on “Honor Amongst Thieves: Organized Crime and the Illicit Antiquities Trade,” which I will be submitting for publication.

Then, I will collapse.  But not for long, because at the end of March I will present at the Creighton Law Review Symposium on Ethics in War, Terrorism, and Military Law.  I will present my completed paper, “The Designation of West Bank Mosques as Israeli National Heritage Sites: Using the 1954 Hague Convention to Protect Against In Situ Appropriation of Cultural Sites” as part of a panel on “Preserving Cultural Sites During Conflict: Moral and Legal Implications.”  This paper will be published in a symposium edition of the Creighton Law Review. I’m excited to be serving on a panel with Elizabeth Varner, who in a small-world turn of events, was my co-justice in Chicago last weekend. She will also be looking at the 1954 Hague Convention, but from a US perspective in light of the recent ratification.

Thanks again to those people who have been so open to my work, and to the organizations who have allowed me to participate in these conferences and activities.  I’ve received a lot of valuable feedback and have forged exciting new friendships. If anyone is interested in reviewing any of my current works in progress and providing me critical feedback, please feel free to contact me directly.

And I’ll try to make with the blog posts.