ISIS Looted Antiquities Funding Terrorism: The Global Community’s Slow Response and What More can be Done

Amy Albanese
Vol. 37 Associate Editor
Vol. 38 Managing Online Content Editor

For over a year, there have been reports in the international press of Syrian and Iraqi antiquities being sold by ISIS as a source of revenue.[1] The reports detail how ISIS is profiting through the sale of Syria’s antiquities on the international art market, some even going so far as to call it a major source of funding.[2] The most recent set of complete trade statistics shows that, in fact, the importation of Syrian antiquities into the United States has remained similar to the pre-2012 sanctions.[3] This is a stark contrast from all other Syrian goods, which have sharply declined from $429.3 million worth of declared goods, to just $12.4 million in declared goods.[4] Yet, in 2014, the importation of “Antiquities over 100 years old,” “Worked Monumental Stone and Mosaic Cubes” and “Collector’s Pieces of Archaeological, Historical or Numismatic Objects” represented $6,633,903, or 54%, of all U.S. imports from Syria.[5] Continue reading

The ICC Accepts First Cultural Heritage Destruction Case

Amy Albanese, Vol. 37 Associate Editor

For the first time in the history of the International Criminal Court at The Hague, an individual will be tried as a war criminal for the destruction of cultural property. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, a native of Mali from the Ansar Taureg tribe, came before Judge Cuno Tarfusser on September 30, 2015, charged with the destruction of the UNESCO site of Timbuktu, Mali.[1] Judge Tarfusser set the provisional date for the confirmation of the charges for January 18, 2016.[2] Continue reading