The issue of cultural property being sold via the Internet is one of the key agenda items for INTERPOL’s 7th International Symposium on Works of Art, Cultural Property and Antiques which opened today at the General Secretariat in Lyon, France.
Increased access to the Internet has also seen a massive rise in the number of suspicious items being sold on the web in recent years, and delegates will be updated on investigations and case studies from around the world.
The need to develop and strengthen legislation to deal with this type of crime and enhance partnerships between law enforcement and the private sector will also be discussed during the three-day meeting.
Opening the conference, INTERPOL’s Executive Director of Police Services, Jean-Michel Louboutin, said that the global nature of cultural property theft underlined the need for enhanced international co-operation.
“This type of crime which affects every country in the world is complex and sophisticated, robbing nations not only of unique and irreplaceable works of art but also of their cultural heritage,” said Mr Louboutin.
“Bringing together investigators and experts from around the world to this symposium will enable us to develop initiatives to help better protect the cultural history and inheritance of all countries and prevent criminals from profiting from these crimes.”
Other issues to be discussed during the meeting include looting from land and underwater archaeological sites and thefts from places of worship.
Nearly 120 participants from 40 countries, including law enforcement representatives, the private sector and international organizations such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Council of Museums (ICOM) are taking part in the conference which is held every three years.
7th International Symposium on the Theft of and Illicit Traffic in Works of Art, Cultural Property and Antiques
Lyon, France, 17 – 19 June 2008