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 1970 UNESCO Convention, as Implemented by Canada and the U.S.: Articulating Policy Norms

Elizabeth A. Beitler
Vol. 37 Articles Editor
Vol. 36 Associate Editor

The law of cultural property and its repatriation is becoming a more and more salient topic in the realm of international law for several reasons.  First, cultural property encompasses a vast array of objects, including, but not limited to, art, archaeological artifacts, antiquities, and rare manuscripts.[1]  Thus, the law of this field has a broad scope that transcends international boundaries.  Second, people are becoming increasingly aware of the value of objects subject to this area of law.  As a result, many more claims for repatriation have been made in recent years.  Furthermore, these claims have a significant impact on relations between interested parties, which are often countries. Continue reading