Return and Restitution Cases

The 1970 UNESCO Convention and the national laws transposing it are useful for the national authorities of States Parties wishing to return one or more cultural objects to another country.

The Intergovernmental Committee on Return and Restitution (ICPRCP) seeks ways and means of facilitating bilateral negotiations, promoting multilateral and bilateral cooperation for the restitution and return of cultural property, encouraging public information campaigns on this issue, and promoting exchanges of cultural property.

This intergovernmental body has an advisory role and its recommendations concern disputes between States, but are not legally binding.

Cases of return and restitution under the aegis of the ICPRCP

In some cases, the 1970 Convention does not formally apply: either the States concerned by the cases of return or restitution have not ratified it, or one of the conditions for its application is not fulfilled (such as non-retroactivity). Other solutions are then sought so that the parties concerned can reach a mutually acceptable agreement. Even if they do not reflect a strict application of the provisions of the Convention, these solutions are often adopted in accordance with the spirit and principles of the Convention.