|09PARISFR1676||2009-12-10 15:01:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Mission UNESCO|
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UNCLAS PARIS FR 001676
1. SUMMARY. The Subcommittee of the Inter-governmental Committee
for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Country of
Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation
(Subcommittee) (ICPRCP) met at UNESCO Headquarters, November 18-20,
to negotiate draft rules of mediation and conciliation. Under the
Chairmanship of the Greek delegate, an experienced international
lawyer, the Subcommittee reached agreement on most of the rules.
The major outstanding issue concerns whether participation in the
proposed mediation and conciliation procedure should be limited to
member states. This question will be before the Inter-governmental
Committee when it meets in 2010. END SUMMARY.
2. At its meeting in May 2009, the Inter-governmental Committee for
Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Country of Origin
or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation (Committee)
decided to constitute a subcommittee to continue inter-sessional
discussion on the draft text of "Rules of Procedure on Mediation and
Conciliation". The Committee had adopted the first three of eleven
draft rules. The Subcommittee (Argentina, Burkina Faso, China,
Greece, Guatemala, India, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Libya, Mexico,
Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Romania, Senegal, U.S.) was chaired by
the Greek delegate, Konstantine Oikonomides.
3. The Subcommittee was able to reconcile differing views on the
operational aspects of the rules. Among those issues, only the
question of whether the UNESCO Director General would have a role in
appointing mediators or conciliators when the parties cannot agree,
remains open (Art.7,para 2). On this point, the Subcommittee agreed
that further consultation would be needed.
4. With regard to the central issue of scope, however, no agreement
was possible. The Italian delegation came to the meeting with new
proposals for Article 4 of the draft rules. The Italians, who
dominated the discussion, argued that public and private
institutions and even individuals could be parties, if they are in
possession of cultural property, are not represented by a state and
the procedure is initiated by a state (Art.4, para 2bis). Korea,
Mexico and Romania supported the Italian proposal. Others (Canada,
U.S., Japan, Argentina) expressed reservations about expanding the
scope to include institutions and individuals when other processes
were available to them such as the International Council of Museums.
They also argued that the procedure could clash with domestic
processes and could politicize the case. In the clear absence of
agreement, the Subcommittee decided to send draft Article 4, para 1
and 2bis to the Committee.
5. The Committee is expected to meet in May or June of 2010. It
will have before it the first three articles which it adopted in May
2009 as well as Articles 4 through 11 which the Subcommittee
discussed at this session. (Text sent to ECA/P, MPKouroupas) Since
agreement was reached on those articles, except as herein noted, the
Committee will concentrate on Article 4 (scope).
6. COMMENT. Department may want to consider targeted approaches to
other committee members to gain support for the position that the
process should be confined to states. The Department may also wish
to consider whether proposed Article 4 para 2bis contravenes the
UNESCO Constitution(Article I para 3): "With a view to preserving
the independence, integrity and fruitful diversity of the cultures
and educational systems of the states members of this Organization,
the Organization is prohibited from intervening in matters which are
essentially within their domestic jurisdiction." END COMMENT.