A Commentary to International Conventions and European Union Law
IHC Series in Heritage Management
Chapter 4: Other Sources of Regulation and the Role of International Organisations
4.1 INTRODUCTION Apart from the legal instruments discussed in previous chapters, there are also other sources of regulation in the area of protection of cultural property, known as ‘soft law’. Such sources are essentially the codes of ethics, which regulate the activities of certain professions or agents in the areas of trade in art, collection and museology (also known as codes of practice or codes of conduct),1 the Recommendations (or Guidelines)2 and the Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs)3.4 Recommendations are issued by UNESCO and other international organisations in the field, whilst MoUs are drafted between interested parties in relation to a particular subject (usually between Member States). Recommendations form an important set of guidelines with an enhanced significance due to the fact that they are adopted in intergovernmental meetings or intergovernmental conferences. Recommendations on the restitution of cultural property are usually adopted in the course of the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation (ICPRCP). MoUs are, in most cases, agreed between states and have less weight when compared to an agreement, in the sense that they are not enforceable in the way contracts There is a difference between codes of ethics and codes of conduct but this difference is a slight one. The former refer to general principles underlying their practices whilst the latter refer to the practices which incorporate these principles. 2 There can also be other forms of soft law,...
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