Friday, August 09, 2013

Court Sets Briefing Schedule in Forfeiture Action

Schedule set for government motion and defendant response
By Peter K. Tompa |
The Court has set a briefing schedule for a government motion seeking to ascertain the factual and legal basis of the Guild’s answer to the Government’s forfeiture complaint.  The Government also plans to seek to strike certain defenses under the theory that they are identical to issues litigated in the Guild's test case.  The Court has given the government until September 27, 2013 to file its motion and the Guild a month to respond.  Copies of the parties’ papers can be found  here and here and the Court’s order here.


There are several important issues involved in the Guild’s answer to the Government’s forfeiture complaint. The most basic of these is the Guild’s contention that the State Department has not followed the requirements of the 1983 CCPIA regarding procedures to be followed, reports to be submitted and transparancy.

Another very important issue is the so-called doctrine of presumptive origin. This doctrine, invented by radical archaeologists and adopted by the State Department, presumes that the legal origin of an artifact is the place where it was made. That however is not the origin under the 1983 CCPIA and its ancillary legislation, including the 1970 UNESCO Convention.

To this observer, a veteran of more than ten years of researching cultural property law, it seems clear that the State Department (and the radical archaeologists whose interests it defends) view the law as a double standard.

Collectors, the trade and private museums must comply with the strict letter of the law, and will be mercilessly prosecuted for the slightest infraction thereof.

Government officials, archaeologists and museum curators need only comply with the strict letter of the law when that is convenient, and agreeable to their ideological persuasion.

It is high time that an unbiased and learned judge shall make a binding determination regarding the so-called doctrine of presumptive origin, and the maladministration of the 1983 CCPIA by the State Department.



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