2009 Cultural Heritage Legal Summary

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2010


In 2009, nearly 55 years after the U.S. participated in the drafting of the first international convention to exclusively address the protection of cultural property, the U.S. ratified the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. New developments concerning the U.S.’ implementation of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property through its legislation, the 1983 Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act, continue to expand and test the parameters of the role of the U.S. in this international treaty regime. Finally, claims, recoveries, and restitution of looted, smuggled, and stolen cultural artifacts continued.