Think Tank Makes Recommendations for Protecting Culture Under Threat from Globalization and Environmental Destruction

New Antiquities Coalition Policy Brief Examines a Potential Legal Remedy to Help Victims Seek Justice

In the newly released Antiquities Coalition Think Tank publication, Haydee Dijkstal, United Kingdom Barrister and experienced United States attorney working in the area of international criminal law, addresses the fact that the crimes within the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction only provide a remedy for actions against cultural heritage perpetrated during conflict or war.

However, the destruction of cultural heritage is often caused by activities associated with globalization, which are outside of the context of an armed conflict recognized under international law. Through numerous examples, Dijkstal highlights the importance of accountability for the destruction of cultural heritage outside an armed conflict, and the way in which the crime against humanity of deportation may provide the necessary avenue for victims.

Dijkstal recommends that “in cases where industrial projects or natural resource extraction causes harm or destruction to land integral to the culture of those living on it and, in turn, forces these communities from the land, the crime against humanity of deportation or forcible transfer could be explored as a potential avenue for accountability.”

For a summary and link to the policy brief, visit:

Following Brexit, will the UK Become a Center of Cultural Racketeering?

Experts Dissect and Discuss Recommendations and Next Steps During Live Panel

Cultural racketeering remains a global issue, despite international attention and efforts to combat this illicit trade which is financing crime, conflict, and terrorism. In Europe, while the EU has sought to address the problem by streamlining import rules and preventing import without proof of legal export from the country of origin, the UK has taken a seemingly opposite approach, quietly revoking the EU Regulation on the Introduction and the Import of Cultural Goods (EU 2019/880) in Great Britain, while adopting it in Northern Ireland. This decision left the UK at risk of becoming a target destination for illicit cultural goods that cannot enter Europe.

On March 1, experts on the art market, law enforcement, and art law joined Think Tank Author Fionnuala Rogers for a lively discussion on her recent Policy Brief which provided recommendations to encourage the UK to balance competing interests, meet its international commitments, and take the role as a leading example for other art market countries in cultural heritage protection.

Key Takeaways included: 

  • Paper Trails Are Worth It: Without overburdening dealers, just a few more questions can make an impact. Requiring more information on import (but less than required by the EU Regulation) such as believed origin, declaration, and provenance, can help law enforcement protect the art market. 
  • The UK has a Unique Opportunity: The UK has a unique opportunity to adopt bespoke practices, which are more targeted and workable than those required by the EU Regulation, under its existing legislation while still meeting the objective.
  • Consultation with Experts is Needed: Moving forward, the UK government should consult with experts from all fields to ensure they create a policy that is practical, effective, and useful to all stakeholders. 

Read the Policy Paper Here

Watch the Recording Here.