UNODC mandates on illicit trafficking in cultural property

Pursuant to Economic and Social Council resolutions 2004/34 and 2008/23, entitled "Protection against trafficking in cultural property", UNODC was requested, in close cooperation with UNESCO, to convene an open-ended intergovernmental expert group meeting to submit relevant recommendations on protection against trafficking in cultural property to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (Crime Commission).

UNODC convened the open-ended intergovernmental expert group meeting on 24 to 26 November 2009 in Vienna. The expert group recommended that the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime explores ways of using the provisions of the Organized Crime Convention as a legal basis for international cooperation for the purpose of protection against trafficking in cultural property. For more information about the expert group meeting see here.

In its resolution 2010/19, entitled "Crime prevention and criminal justice responses to protect cultural property, especially with regard to its trafficking", the Economic and Social Council requested UNODC to work with UNESCO and others to follow up on the expert working group's recommendations, and convene at least one other such meeting and submit resulting practical proposals for their implementation to the 22nd session of the Commission on Crime prevention and Criminal Justice. Further, UNODC was requested to join UNESCO, Interpol and others with respect to awareness-raising, capacity-building and technical assistance activities, and to explore possible analysis and dissemination of data on trafficking in cultural property.

The 12th Crime Congress held on 12 to 19 April 2010, resulted in the Salvador Declaration. Paragraph 9 of that Declaration urged States to develop effective legislation to prevent, prosecute and punish this crime in any of its forms and to strengthen international cooperation and technical assistance in this area (including the recovery and return of cultural property), bearing in mind relevant international instruments, including the Organized Crime Convention where appropriate.

In October 2010, during the fifth Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the Secretariat provided a discussion note on the use of the Organized Crime Convention for the protection against trafficking in cultural property. The Conference of the Parties adopted resolution 5/7 , entitled "Combating transnational organized crime against cultural property", in which it urges States parties to use the Organized Crime Convention for broad cooperation in preventing and combating criminal offences against cultural property, especially in returning such proceeds of crime or property to their legitimate owners, in accordance with article 14, paragraph 2, of the Convention.

Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 66/180 and resolution 2010/19 of the Economic and Social Council, UNODC developed draft specific guidelines on crime prevention and criminal justice responses to assist States in better fighting against trafficking in cultural property.

In that resolution, the Economic and Social Council also invited Member States to continue to submit, in writing, comments on the model treaty for the prevention of crimes that infringe on the cultural heritage of peoples in the form of movable property, including views on its potential utility and on whether any improvements to it should be considered, at the earliest possible date, in order to assist the Secretariat in preparing an analysis and a report to be presented to the open-ended intergovernmental expert group on protection against trafficking in cultural property at its next meeting, as well as to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice at its twenty-second session.

Furthermore, in its resolution 68/186, entitled "Strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice responses to protect cultural property, especially with regard to its trafficking", the General Assembly requested the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to reconvene the intergovernmental expert group on protection against trafficking in cultural property, for Member States to review and revise the draft guidelines, taking into account an updated compendium from the Secretariat of comments made by Member States, with a view to finalizing the guidelines. In line with this resolution, the  third meeting of the expert group was held from 15 to 17 January 2014. Pursuant to resolution 68/186, the guidelines will be submitted to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice at its twenty-third session and will be brought, after their adoption, to the attention of the Conference of the Parties to the Organized Crime Convention.

The following documentation provides for a comprehensive perspective of mandates received by UNODC in this area:

Document symbol

Topic

English

French

Spanish

Russian

Arabic

Chinese

General Assembly Resolution 68/186

Strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice responses to protect cultural property, especially with regard to its trafficking

pdf

  pdf

pdf

 pdf

 pdf

 pdf

Resolution 6/1,  paragraph 14, of the Conference of Parties to the Organized Crime Convention, contained in CTOC/COP/2012/15

Ensuring effective implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols thereto

pdf  

  pdf

pdf  

pdf  

  pdf

  pdf

General Assembly Resolution 66/180

Strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice responses to protect cultural property, especially with regard to its trafficking

pdf

pdf

pdf

pdf

pdf

pdf

Resolution 5/7 of the Conference of Parties to the Organized Crime Convention, contained in CTOC/COP/2010/17

Combating transnational organized crime against cultural property

pdf 

pdf 

  pdf

  pdf

pdf 

pdf 

ECOSOC Resolution 2010/19

Crime prevention and criminal justice responses to protect cultural property, especially with regard to its trafficking

pdf

pdf

pdf

pdf

pdf

pdf

ECOSOC Resolution 2008/23

Protection against trafficking in cultural property

pdf

  pdf

pdf 

pdf 

  pdf

  pdf

ECOSOC Resolution 2004/34

Protection against trafficking in cultural property

pdf

pdf

pdf

pdf

pdf

pdf