World Intellectual Property Organization

Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property

Australia

Declaration made upon acceptance:
"The Government of Australia declares that Australia is not at present in a position to oblige antique dealers, subject to penal or administrative sanctions, to maintain a register recording the origin of each item of cultural property, names and addresses of the supplier, description and price of each item sold and to inform the purchaser of the cultural property of the export prohibition to which such property may be subject. Australia therefore accepts the Convention subject to a reservation as to Article 10, to the extent that it is unable to comply with the obligations imposed by that Article."

Belarus

Declaration made upon ratification:
"The Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic declares that the provisions of Articles 12, 22 and 23 of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, providing for the possibility for the contracting parties to extend its application to the territories for the international relations of which they are responsible, are outdated and contrary to the Declaration of the United Nations General Assembly on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples."

Belgium

Declaration made upon ratification:
"Belgium interprets the term “cultural property” as confined to those objects listed in the Annex to Council Regulation (EEC) No 3911/92 of 9 December 1992, as amended, on the export of cultural goods and in the Annex to Council Directive 93/7/EEC of 15 March 1993, as amended, on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a Member State."

Cuba

Declaration made upon ratification:
"The Government of the Republic of Cuba considers that the implementation of the provisions contained in Articles 22 and 23 of the Convention is contrary to the Declaration on Granting Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (Resolution 1514) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 14 December 1960, which proclaims the necessity of bringing to a speedy and unconditional end colonizations in all its forms and manifestations."

Czech Republic

Declaration made by Czechoslovakia upon acceptance:
"Accepting the Convention, the Government of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic wishes to declare that preservation of the state of dependence of certain countries from which the provisions of Articles 12, 22, and 23 proceed is in contradiction with the contents and objective of the Declaration of the United Nations General Assembly No. 1514 on the granting of independence to colonial countries and nations of 14 December 1960. The Government of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic further declares in connection with Article 20 that the Convention, according to the problems it regulates, should be open also to non-Member States of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization without the need of invitation by the Executive Council of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization."

Denmark

Declaration made upon ratification:
"...The property designated as of importance for archaeology, prehistory, history, literature, art or science, in accordance with Article 1 of the Convention, are the properties covered by the Danish legislation concerning protection of cultural assets and the Danish Museum Act.
Act on Protection of Cultural Assets in Denmark: The Act on Protection of Cultural Assets in Denmark came into force on 1 January 1987. According to section 2(1) in the Act on Protection of Cultural Assets in Denmark the Act applies to the following cultural assets which are not publicly owned:
• cultural objects of the period before 1660;
• cultural objects older than 100 years and valued at DKK 100,000 or more;
• photographs (regardless of age) if they have a value of DKK 30,000 or more.
In exceptional cases the Minister of Culture can decide that the Act is also applicable to other objects of cultural interest.
Coins and medals are the only cultural objects explicitly exempted from the regulations of the Act.
The above-mentioned assets must not be exported from Denmark without permission from the Commission on Export of Cultural Assets.
Museum Act: According to section 28 of the Museum Act, any person who finds an ancient relic or monument, including shipwrecks, cargo or parts of such wrecks, which at any time must be assumed lost more than 100 years ago, in watercourses, in lakes, in territorial waters or on the continental shelf, but not beyond 24 nautical miles from the base lines from which the width of outer territorial waters is measured, shall immediately notify the Minister of Culture. Such objects shall belong to the State, unless any person proves that he or she is the rightful owner. Any person who gathers up an object belonging to the State, and any person who gains possession of such an object, shall immediately deliver it to the Minister of Culture.
According to section 30 of the Museum Act objects of the past, including coins found in Denmark, of which no one can prove to be the rightful owner, shall be treasure trove (danefæ) if made of valuable material or being of a special cultural heritage value. Treasure trove shall belong to the State. Any person who finds treasure trove, and any person who gains possession of treasure trove, shall immediately deliver it to the National Museum of Denmark.
According to section 31 of the Museum Act, a geological object or a botanical or zoological object of a fossil or sub-fossil nature or a meteorite found in Denmark is fossil trove (danekræ) if the object is of unique scientific or exhibitional value. Fossil trove shall belong to the State. Any person who finds fossil trove, and any person, who gains possession of fossil trove, shall immediately deliver it to the Danish Museum of Natural History."

Finland

Declaration made upon ratification:
"The Government of Finland declares that it will implement the provisions of Article 7 (b) (ii) of this Convention in accordance with its obligations under Unidroit Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects done at Rome on 24 June 1995."

France

Declaration made upon ratification:
"The property designated as “of importance for archaeology, prehistory, history, literature, art, or science”, in accordance with Article 1 of the Convention, are the following properties whose value exceeds the thresholds indicated opposite: Thresholds (in ECUs) (The conversion value in national currencies of the amounts in ECUs is that in force on 1 January 1993)
1. Archaeological objects more than 100 years old originating from:
- terrestrial and submarine excavations and discoveries,
- archaeological sites, archaeological collections 0
2. Elements more than 100 years old that form an integral part of artistic, historic or religious monuments which have been dismembered 0
3. Pictures and paintings produced entirely by hand on any support and in any material 150.000 (More than 50 years old and not belonging to their creators)
4. Mosaics, other than those included in categories 1 or 2, and drawings produced entirely by hand on any support and in any material 15.000 (More than 50 years old and not belonging to their creators)
5. Original engravings, prints, serigraphs and lithographs and their respective matrices, and original posters 15.000 (More than 50 years old and not belonging to their creators)
6. Original works of statuary art or sculpture and copies obtained by the same means as the original (More than 50 years old and not belonging to their creators), other than items included in category1 50.000
7. Photographs, films and their negatives 15.000 (More than 50 years old and not belonging to their creators)
8. Incunabula and manuscripts, including geographical maps and musical scores, singly or in collections 0 (More than 50 years old and not belonging to their creators)
9. Books more than 100 years old, singly or in collections 50.000
10. Printed geographical maps more than 200 years old 15.000
11. Archives of any sort comprising elements more than 50 years old, whatever their medium 0
12. (a) Collections (Objects for collections are objects that posses the necessary qualities for admission to a collection, that is to say, objects that are relatively rare, not normally used for their original purpose, are the subject of special transactions distinct from the normal trade in usable objects of a similar nature, and have a high value) and specimens from collections of fauna, flora, minerals, and anatomy 50.000
(b) Collections of a historical, paleontological, ethnographic or numismatic interest 50.000
13. Means of transport over 75 years old 50.000
14. Any other ancient object not included in categories 1 to 13 between 50 and 100 years old
(a) toys or games, glassware, objects made of precious metals, furniture and furnishings, optical, photographic or cinematographic instruments, musical instruments, timepieces, objects made of wood, pottery, tapestries, carpets, wallpapers, weapons 50.000
(b) More than 100 years old 50.000
This list is in conformity with rules in force in France and subject to modification. The government of the French Republic will make known any modifications to it that may be made at a future date."

Guatemala

Declaration made upon ratification:
"The Republic of Guatemala, mindful that, in conformity with the Fundamental Statute of Government, monuments and archaeological vestiges are the property of the nation and that, furthermore, national law prohibits the unauthorized export of property constituting its cultural wealth, makes an express reservation concerning paragraph (b) (ii) of Article 7 of the Convention to the effect that it does not consider itself obliged to pay any compensation to any person or persons holding cultural property that has been looted or stolen in Guatemala or exported illicitly to another State Party and that, at the request of the Government of Guatemala, has been the subject of appropriate steps for its confiscation and/or restitution by that other State Party.
In any case, the Republic of Guatemala does not consider that the purchase of property forming part of its cultural wealth is in good faith solely through having been made in ignorance of the law.
Concerning Article 3 of the Convention, the Republic of Guatemala shall also consider to be illicit the import and transfer of ownership of cultural property effected contrary to the national provisions in force that are not in conflict with the provisions of the Convention."

Hungary

Declaration made upon ratification:
"Articles 12, 22 and 23 of the Convention contradict United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1514(XV) of 14 December 1960, which proclaimed the necessity of bringing to a speedy and unconditional end colonialism in all its forms and manifestations. Article 20 of the Convention is not in conformity with the principle of the sovereign equality of States; in view of the matters it regulates, the Convention should be open to all States without restriction."

Mexico

Declaration made upon acceptance:
"The Government of the United Mexican States has studied the text of the comments and reservations on the convention on the means of prohibiting and preventing the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property made by the United States of America on 20 June 1983. It has reached the conclusion that these comments and reservations are not compatible with the purposes and aims of the Convention, and that their application would have the regrettable result of permitting the import into the United States of America of cultural property and its re-export to other countries, with the possibility that the cultural heritage of Mexico might be affected."

Republic of Moldova

Declaration made upon ratification:
"Until the full re-establishment of the territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova, the provisions of the convention shall be applied only on the territory controlled effectively by the authorities of the Republic of Moldova."

Russian Federation

Declaration made upon ratification:
"The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics declares that the provisions of Articles 12, 22 and 23 of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, providing for the possibility for the contracting parties to extend its application to the territories for the international relations of which they are responsible, are outdated and contrary to the Declaration of the United Nations General Assembly on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples."

Slovakia

Declaration made by Czechoslovakia upon acceptance:
"Accepting the Convention, the Government of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic wishes to declare that preservation of the state of dependence of certain countries from which the provisions of Articles 12, 22, and 23 proceed is in contradiction with the contents and objective of the Declaration of the United Nations General Assembly No. 1514 on the granting of independence to colonial countries and nations of 14 December 1960. The Government of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic further declares in connection with Article 20 that the Convention, according to the problems it regulates, should be open also to non-Member States of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization without the need of invitation by the Executive Council of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization." (See letter LA/Depositary/1977/6 of 8 April 1977)

Sweden

Declaration made upon ratification:
"The property designated as of importance for archaeology, prehistory, history, literature, art or science, in accordance with Article 1 of the Convention, are the following properties:
1. Archaeological objects – Swedish archaeological objects, regardless of material or value, dating from 1650 or before and not belonging to the State.
2. Pictures and paintings
(a) Swedish paintings more than 100 years old and worth more than SEK 50,000,
(b) portraits picturing a Swede or other persons who were active in Sweden, which are more than 100 years old and worth more than SEK 20,000,
(c) foreign paintings worth more than SEK 50,000.
3. Drawings
(a) Swedish drawings, water-colours, gouaches and pastels more than 100 years old and worth more than SEK 50,000,
(b) portraits picturing a Swede or other persons who were active in Sweden, in the form of water-colours, gouaches and pastels more than 100 years old and worth more than SEK 20,000,
(c) foreign drawings, water-colours, gouaches and pastels worth more than SEK 50,000.
4. Original engravings – Swedish woodcut and copperplate engraving, made before 1650, regardless of value.
5. Original sculptures
(a) Swedish original sculptures and copies produced by the same process as the original, regardless of material, which are more than 100 years old and worth more than SEK 50,000,
(b) foreign original sculptures and copies produced by the same process as the original, regardless of material, which are worth more than SEK 50,000.
6. Incunabula and manuscripts
(a) Swedish incunabula, regardless of value,
(b) Swedish manuscripts on parchment or paper produced before 1650, regardless of value,
(c) Swedish unprinted minutes, letters, diaries, manuscripts, music, accounts, hand-drawn maps and drawings, which are more than 50 years old and worth more than SEK 2,000,
(d) collections of foreign incunabula and Swedish unprinted material in category (b) and (c), which are older than 50 years and are worth more than SEK 50,000.

7. Books
(a) Swedish books printed before 1600, regardless of value,
(b) other Swedish books, which are older than 100 years and are worth more than SEK 10,000, (c) foreign books worth more than SEK 10,000.
8. Printed maps
(a) Swedish printed maps, which are older than 100 years and worth more than SEK 10,000,
(b) foreign printed maps, worth more than SEK 10,000.
9. Archives – Swedish unprinted minutes, letters, diaries, manuscripts, music, accounts, hand-drawn maps and drawings, which are more than 50 years and are worth more than SEK 2,000.
10. Means of transport
(a) Swedish means of transport which are older than 100 years and are worth more than SEK 50,000,
(b) foreign means of transport worth more than SEK 50,000.
11. Any other antique item not included in categories 1-10:
(a) Swedish items of wood, bone, pottery, metal or textile which are produced before 1650, regardless of value,
(b) Swedish furniture, mirrors and boxes which are made before 1860, regardless of value,
(c) Swedish drinking-vessels, harness and textile implements if they are made of wood and have painted or carved decorations, folk costumes and embroidered or pattern-woven traditional textiles, tapestry paintings, long-case clocks, wall clocks and brackets clocks, signed faience, firearms, edged weapons and defensive weapons and musical instruments, which are more than 100 years old, regardless of value,
(d) Swedish items of pottery, glass, porphyry, gold, silver or bronze, with exception of coins and medals, chandeliers, woven tapestries and tiled stoves, which are older than 100 years and worth more than SEK 50,000,
(e) Swedish technical models and prototypes and scientific instruments, which are older than 50 years and worth more than SEK 2,000,
(f) foreign furniture, mirrors, boxes, long-case clocks, wall clocks and brackets clocks, musical instruments, firearms, edged weapons and defensive weapons, items of pottery, glass, ivory, gold, silver or bronze, with exception of coins and medals, chandeliers and woven tapestries, which are worth more than SEK 50,000.
12. Lapp (Sami) items which are more than 50 years and worth more than SEK 2,000. The term Swedish items of historic interest refers to items which were actually or presumably made in Sweden or in some other country by a Swede. The term foreign items of historic interest refers to items made in another country by a non-Swede. This list is in conformity with rules in force in Sweden at present."

Ukraine

Declaration made upon acceptance:
"The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic declares that the provisions of Articles 12, 22 and 23 of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, providing for the possibility for the contracting parties to extend its application to the territories for the international relations of which they are responsible, are outdated and contrary to the Declaration of the United Nations General Assembly on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples."

United Kingdom

Declaration made upon acceptance:
"(a) the United Kingdom interprets the term "cultural property" as confined to those objects listed in the Annex to Council Regulation (EEC) N° 3911/1992 of 9 December 1992, as amended, on the export of cultural goods and in the Annex to Council Directive 1993 / EEC of 15 March 1993, as amended, on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a Member State;
(b) As between EC member states, the United Kingdom shall apply the relevant EC legislation to the extent that that legislation covers matters to which the Convention applies; and
(c) The United Kingdom interprets Article 7(b)(ii) to the effect that it may continue to apply its existing rules on limitation to claims made under this Article for the recovery and return of cultural objects."

United States of America

Declaration made upon acceptance:
"United States reserves the right to determine whether or not to impose export controls over cultural property.
The United States understands the provisions of the Convention to be neither self-executing nor retroactive.
The United States understands Article 3 not to modify property interests in cultural property under the laws of the States parties.
The United States understands Article 7 (a) to apply to institutions whose acquisition policy is subject to national control under existing domestic legislation and not to require the enactment of new legislation to establish national control over other institutions.
The United States understands that Article 7(b) is without prejudice to other remedies, civil or penal, available under the laws of the States parties for the recovery of stolen cultural property to the rightful owner without payment of compensation.
The United States is further prepared to take the additional steps contemplated by Article 7(b) (ii) for the return of covered stolen cultural property without payment of compensation, except to the extent required by the Constitution of the United States, for those states parties that agree to do the same for the United States institutions.
The United States understands the words “as appropriate for each country” in Article 10 (a) as permitting each state party to determine the extent of regulation, if any, of antique dealers and declares that in the United States that determination would be made by the appropriate authorities of state and municipal governments.
The United States understands Article 13(d) as applying to objects removed from the country of origin after the entry into force of this Convention for the states concerned, and, as stated by the Chairman of the Special Committee of Governmental Experts that prepared the text, and reported in paragraph 28 of the Report of that Committee, the means of recovery of cultural property under sub paragraph (d) are the judicial actions referred to in sub paragraph (c) of Article 13, and that such actions are controlled by the law of the requested State, the requesting State having to submit necessary proofs."

 

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