Maria Granovsky

Document Type



Despite the frequency of cultural property disputes, there is currently no permanent and universally acceptable framework for their resolution. Rather, each dispute is approached on an ad hoc basis. Even though each dispute presents a unique set of circumstances, there is sufficient commonality within the class of such disputes to make it amenable to a standardized, if flexible, system of resolution. This paper proposes one such possible system. The proposed system would include a new permanent international organization dedicated solely to the settlement of cultural property disputes. Under its auspices, a process would exist to guarantee a binding solution while allowing the parties maximum autonomy in resolving their conflict. Both goals are achieved by structuring the process as a series of escalating steps-from negotiation through mediation to arbitration-while building in choice as to the form that each step would take. A hypothetical case study of a current real-life cultural property dispute involving four nations and certain individuals illustrates this system.