With reports that Russia is considering abandoning the nearly five year old embargo on loans of cultural artifacts into the United States, the cited connection between that willingness and the recent passage of the Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act (FCEJICA) bears closer scrutiny that it has received to date. If the unnecessary embargo were to come to an end it would be welcome news, but Russia’s claim that the new law is the reason is hard to square with the history of the issue. It cannot be stated emphatically enough that the new law makes Russian art loans no more or less safe from seizure than they were before, because the law governing seizure of cultural objects (the Immunity from Seizure Act, or IFSA) has not changed. Russia’s penchant for framing the question as something for which it needed protection is thus frustrating because it is simply incorrect. The Russian loan embargo has been political theater from the time in began in 2012 in retaliation after Russian defendants lost a key litigation in Washington, DC, and the new law was passed in response to events that had nothing to do with Russia.
Topics: Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional, Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, FSIA, IFSA, 28 U.S.C. 1605(a)(3), Immunity from Seizure Act, 22 U.S.C. § 2259, Chabad, Russia, Malevich v. City of Amsterdam, Welfenschatz, Alfred Flechtheim
Opposition to Senate Bill 2212, the Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act (a bill the Art Law Report favors in its frequent commentaries) has been renewed recently. Senate Bill 2212 (already passed by the House of Representatives) would remove the mere display of a work of art in the United States as a satisfactory basis to satisfy the commercial activity requirement of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act necessary to sue a foreign sovereign here in the United States.
Topics: Germany, Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, Plundered Art, 22 U.S.C. § 2459, Restitution, Senate Bill 2212, World War II, Foreign Sovereign Immunities, Nikki Georgopulos, Altmann v. Republic of Austria, Immunity from Seizure Act, Nazi theft, Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity, Malevich v. City of Amsterdam, Art Law Report