Saturday, September 14, 2013

U.S. Import Protections Extended on Cambodian Heritage

As arguments heat up in the civil forfeiture case of United States of America v. A 10th Century Cambodian Sandstone Sculpture Currently Located at Sotheby's, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Treasury Department have issued a final rule extending cultural property import controls over Cambodian cultural objects threatened by looting.

Angkor temple detail. Credit: eschu 1952
The rule covers archaeological and ethnological material from the Bronze Age through the Khmer era. That means that protected cultural objects listed under the U.S. import rule are barred from entering the U.S. unless authorized.

The U.S. first agreed to emergency import controls authorized by the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (CPIA) in 1999. A bilateral agreement enacted between the U.S. and Cambodia pursuant to the CPIA followed in September 2003. The agreement, called a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), formally instituted cultural property import controls for five years. The U.S. renewed the import protections in September 2008. They have now been renewed for another five years.

The Association of Art Museum Directors and the Archaeological Institute of America are among those who supported the adoption of the latest import measures.

A description of modern-day archaeological looting in Cambodia is outlined in a letter authored by Heritage Watch, which was submitted to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee in January.

This post is researched, written, and published on the blog Cultural Heritage Lawyer Rick St. Hilaire at culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.com. Text copyrighted 2010-2013 by Ricardo A. St. Hilaire, Attorney & Counselor at Law, PLLC. Any unauthorized reproduction or retransmission of this post is prohibited. CONTACT INFORMATION: www.culturalheritagelawyer.com