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Human Rights and Cultural Heritage: A Conference Report

posted by Christopher Howard — May 03, 2011

Lucille A. Roussin, an attorney with a background in art history, reports on a recent daylong program that took place at the Cardozo School of Law in New York on March 31, 2011. The first two paragraphs are below; you may also read the full article.

Human Rights and Cultural Heritage: From the Holocaust to the Haitian Earthquake

The Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York hosted an all-day conference, entitled “Human Rights and Cultural Heritage: From the Holocaust to the Haitian Earthquake,” on March 31, 2011. The program brought together experts in both human-rights law and Holocaust-era restitution law. Its organizers also invited specialists in the same areas who had not previously engaged this important topic.

The program commenced with opening remarks by Allan Gerson, chairman of AG International Law PLLC, a Washington, DC–based law firm specializing in complex issues of international law and politics. During his talk on “Civil Litigation to Secure Cultural Property as a Human Right,” he spoke of the continuing debate over the existence of a recognized human right to secure restitution of cultural property and, when a victim is deprived of actual possession, the right to just compensation. Gerson included news about his current litigation against the Metropolitan Museum of Art over Paul Cézanne’s Madame Cézanne in the Conservatory (1891) and Yale University over Vincent van Gogh’s The Night Café (1888). Both cases involve major issues in international law, including the Act of State Doctrine and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

Read the full article in the Features section.

Filed under: Cultural Heritage, Legal Issues