Foreword: The Art of International Law

By Scharf, Michael P.; Steiner, Katie | Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, Spring 2017 | Go to article overview

Foreword: The Art of International Law


Scharf, Michael P., Steiner, Katie, Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law


I.

Anyone who has seen "Monuments Men" starring George Clooney and Matt Damon, or "Woman in Gold" with Helen Mirren, knows that return of stolen art is fodder for great films. But today even more compelling stories at the intersection of art and international law are unfolding across the globe.

The international community is currently struggling with how to deal with actions by ISIS and al-Qaeda to destroy cultural treasures throughout the Middle East. Meanwhile, countries around the world are locked in international disputes about repatriation of famous artworks, ranging from the Parthenon sculptures known as the Elgin Marbles to the relics of Machu Picchu.

Art is big business. Global sales of arts and antiquities surpassed $66 billion in 2014. (3) And art controversies are a growing concern for the international community.

Consequently, on September 16, 2016, Case Western Reserve University School of Law's Frederick K. Cox International Law Center, in conjunction with the celebration of the Cleveland Museum of Art's centennial anniversary, convened a day-long conference with leading scholars and practitioners from around the world to explore topics at the intersection of art and international law. The archived webcast of the Symposium is available for viewing anytime at: http://law.case.edu/Lectures-Events/EventId/17e/the-art-ofinternational-law-16- sep-2016.

This symposium issue of the Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law contains eleven articles generated from the Art of International Law conference. The volume also reproduces the 2016 Klatsky Endowed Lecture in Human Rights, featuring the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, with an introduction commemorating the 15th anniversary of the lecture endowment. In addition, the volume includes a transcript of the "Talking Foreign Policy" broadcast devoted to repatriation and contemporary cultural-property protection efforts. Finally, the volume contains four Notes by student editors of the Journal on current issues in international law.

II.

The volume's symposium content proceeds in four sections, beginning with an article by Margaret M. Miles, Professor of Art History and Classics at the University of California, Irvine, who delivered the Keynote Address. Professor Miles's article traces the theory and practice of restituting cultural objects from ancient times through the present, providing a context for modern-day conversations on the topic.

The second group of symposium articles stem from a panel addressing criminal responsibility for acts of cultural destruction, which featured a discussion among Shannon French, Director of the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence, Professor of Philosophy, and Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University, William Schabas, Professor of International Law at Middlesex University London School of Law; Milena Sterio, Associate Dean and Charles R. Emrick Jr.-Calfee Halter & Griswold Professor of Law at Cleveland State University's Marshall College of Law; and Paul Williams, Rebecca I. Grazier Professor of Law and International Relations at American University's Washington College of Law and President of the Public International Law and Policy Group. Professor Schabas's article addresses the destruction of religious and historical structures in Timbuktu and the Rome Statute's shortcomings in holding the perpetrators responsible. Focusing on the same incidents in Mali, Professor Sterio's article explores the impact of the International Criminal Court's proceedings against the responsible parties. Also weighing in on the situation in Mali is Mark Ellis, Executive Director of the International Bar Association, whose article considers best practices in the international community for addressing cultural destruction. Turning to the issue of looting, Professor Williams's article, co-authored by Christin Coster, explores how the market for stolen goods funds terrorism. …

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