Repatriation of cultural property to its state of origin under international law: an assessment of implementation in Thailand
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 12:37 by Peerapon Jaderojananont
Illicit trafficking of cultural property is a major problem in many states of origin rich in cultural heritage, effecting loss of movable cultural property within those countries and cultural property disputes between states of origin (seeking repatriation of illegally removed cultural property) and market states (in which such property is located and who consume foreign cultural property). As raised by Merryman, cultural property disputes are theoretically based on two different concepts. The first is known as 'cultural nationalism', which supports cultural property being retained and managed by the nation in which it originated, and the second is' cultural internationalism', which regards cultural property as components of common human culture. This thesis aims to examine international, regional and national legal frameworks for repatriation of cultural property. Repatriation depends on effective cooperation between states of origin as a requesting party and market states as a requested party for repatriation. However, the legal framework for repatriation under the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and 1995 Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects were designed with a preference for cultural nationalism. This fails to convince market states to ratify those Conventions, and establishment of appropriate forms of cooperation under those Conventions. Although the legal framework based on cultural nationalism seems to favour state parties of origin, its legal defects hamper achieving repatriation. Thailand is a state of origin and has also suffered from the shortcomings of the international legal framework in its request s for repatriation. This thesis argue s that for repatriation to be feasible, there should be a balance between cultural nationalism and cultural internationalism to achieve appropriate cooperation between requesting parties and requested parties as a precursor to repatriation.