University of Waikato of New Zealand Offers ‘Art Crime during Armed Conflict’ Course

Posted on December 14, 2011


Between Monday 13th and Friday 17th February next year, Judge Arthur Tompkins, a faculty member at ARCA’s Summer Masters Certificate Program in International Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection Studies course in Amelia, Italy, will be presenting ‘Art Crime during Armed Conflict‘, as a 5-day summer course at the University of Waikato, in Hamilton, New Zealand.

During the first two full days, the course covers about 2,000 years of history, from the sack of Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem by Titus in AD 70, through to the looting of the National Museum in Baghdad in 2003, and very many instances of art and cultural heritage crime during times of war in between – including the Fourth Crusade, the Thirty Years’ War, Napoleonic and Imperial France, and the First and Second World Wars.

On Day Three, the fate of several famous libraries destroyed or displaced by war – including the fabled Library at Alexandria, (destroyed on several occasions starting with Julius Caesar sending fire ships into Alexandria in 48 BC), the removal of Library of the Palatinate (carried over the Alps from Heidelberg to the Vatican on the backs of 200 mules in the early 17th century), the destruction of the Library at Louvain in the First World War, and the devastation of National Library during the Siege of Sarajevo in the 1990s – will be considered.

On the last two days of the Course the international and private law response to such crimes, beginning with Cicero’s prosecution of Verres before the Roman Senate in 70 BC, Grotius’ Laws of War, the Leiber Code and on to the Hague Conventions of 1907 and 1954, are covered. The two main hurdles in the way of private claimants seeking to recover looted art – Limitation Periods and the differing responses to the bona fide purchaser – complete the last day of the course.

Throughout the course, the lectures will be copiously illustrated by extensive Powerpoint presentations, copies of which will be distributed to all participants, along with a detailed Course Outline and Bibliography.

Places on the course may be limited, so early enrollment is encouraged.  The Course can either be taken for a 10-point credit as part of a university degree course (in which case, contact Eileen Suttor on either (+64 7) 838 4318 or by email to for enquiries or enrollment), or as a Continuing Education non-credit course by external participants – in this case, the 4000-word dissertation due by 5 April is optional. For Continuing Education enquiries and/or enrollments, contact, or telephone (+64 7) 858 5116).