Antiquities as assets for seizure? The US Supreme Court to decide.
The US State Department’s Cultural Heritage Center oversees a number of initiatives to protect the world’s global heritage. The Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation doles out grants to US embassies overseas to fund restoration efforts and other heritage projects in the host countries. The Iraq Cultural Heritage Initiative contains several programs aimed at heritage preservation and training in that war-torn country. And the US has bilateral agreements with numerous countries that restrict the import of antiquities to the US to help limit illegal looting of archaeological sites and cultural patrimony. Now, the US Supreme Court is scheduled to look at a case involving a settlement against Iran, specifically to determine whether artifacts held by esteemed cultural institutions in Chicago—which Iran had wanted returned—can be used as assets to be seized to enforce the court settlement.
By Lawrence Hurley
June 27, 2017