chapter  3
The criminalisation of the illicit trade in cultural property
ByAna Filipa Vrdoljak
Pages 16

This chapter considers the criminalisation of illicit traffic of cultural objects in international law and its impact for domestic law. The destruction of cultural diversity through the targeting of cultural patrimony of religious and ethnic groups, and the targeting and killing of heritage professionals, these acts are entwined with the illicit traffic in cultural objects and are increasingly condemned by the international community in the same instruments. The chapter examines the discovery of the hoard of artworks held by Cornelius Gurlitt in Germany in 2012. It revisits the lessons learned during the mid-twentieth century which transformed international law including human rights law and cultural heritage protection. A few years after the Nuremberg Judgment, UNESCO commenced work on the codification of the protection of cultural property during armed conflict and belligerent occupation which led to the adoption of the 1954 Hague Convention and First Protocol.