Chicago Journal of International Law


The futility of trying to prove ownership by only one country when antiquities were created by a culture whose boundaries span multiple modern states was exhibited in Peru v Johnson, in which the court found that Peru could not succeed in claiming artifacts that could have come from Ecuador or Bolivia. The outcome in this case strongly suggests that modern countries sharing such ancient cultural boundaries would benefit by executing multilateral agreements to create 1CPTs that delegate their international litigation claims to a single agent. The creation of multilateral ICPTs that encompass ancient cultural footprints would yield more fair and just repatriation results and increased success of repatriation claims brought in the courts of market countries, particularly the United States. Rather than source countries losing in court because of competing ownership claims, the ICPT would need only prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the object is owned by one of the ICPT's member countries or by the ICPT itself. This Article discusses (i) the shortcomings of the current framework; (ii) the need for a unified claim in American courts by modern states that share ancient cultural boundaries; and (iii) how ICPTs would lead to more just outcomes for the stewardship of antiquities. Indeed, an ICPT established by modern states that share ancient cultural boundaries would serve as a deterrent for looting of sites and yield increased scholarship, stronger and more effective stewardship, and enhanced educational opportunities for all citizens of the world. [CONT]