CAS International Cultural Heritage Law
LocationUniversity of Geneva, Uni Mail – Faculté de droit, 40, boulevard du Pont d’Arve, 1211 Genève 4
CHF 7.000.- for the full programme
CHF 900.- for each module
- Gain a specialisation in international cultural heritage law with a unique programme organised and taught by the specialists of the Art-Law Centre and of the UNESCO Chair in the International Law of the Protection of Cultural Heritage of the University of Geneva
- Develop a high-level and critical understanding of the legal, political and philosophical considerations underpinning international cultural heritage law through a modern and dynamic problem-based learning method
- Meet and learn from leading practitioners, experts and academics from all over the world
- Acquire the skills to gain employment in the art and cultural heritage sector or other related areas
• Practitioner employed in other fields (including official and/or professional in the public and private sectors, member of staff of international organisations, foundations and NGOs, human rights defender, lawyer and journalist) who wants to shift their career trajectory toward the art and cultural heritage sector
• University student (post-graduate) who wishes to gain a specialisation in order to start a career in the art and cultural heritage sector
First semester - January-May 2024
- Module 1: Art and cultural heritage: foundational aspects
- Module 2: The art market: a legal perspective
Second semester - September-December 2024
- Module 3: International cultural heritage law and the illicit trade
- Module 4: Cultural heritage in danger
- Module 5: Cultural heritage law and the cultural objects removed in connection with mass-atrocity crimes
Third semester - January-May 2025
- Module 6: Cultural heritage and human rights law
- Module 7: Cultural heritage and intellectual property law
- Module 8: The settlement of disputes
Prof. Marc-André RENOLD, Art-Law Centre, Faculty of Law, University of Geneva
Identify and discuss the role of the different actors of the art and cultural heritage sector as well as the problems, challenges and risks faced by such actors.
Learn the history of International Cultural Heritage Law and the key definitions; develop a critical understanding of the role, interests, objectives and activities of the different actors of the art and cultural heritage sector; exhibit the capacity to identify the problems, challenges and risks faced by the actors of the art and cultural heritage sector; be acquainted with the intersections of cultural heritage law with other fields, including environmental law, climate change law, disaster law and sustainable development; engage on the controversy around the removal of “offending” monuments and symbols and with the issue of corporate global responsibility; evidence a high-level understanding of cultural diplomacy through the study of the UNESCO Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of 1972.
Study the art market, itsdynamics and the legal rules relating to transactions involving art objects; demonstrate some of the realities of working in the art industry.
Learn about the development of the art market and today’s market practices; be acquainted with the legal issues that arise when acquiring and/or selling art –but also when lending, borrowing, donating, disposing of and giving away art objects; gain insight into the legal framework regulating national and international art markets; gain the knowledge to apply legal rules and best practices to the issues that frequently arise in the art market; acquire the capacity to identify the specific legal risks and safeguards that underpin all art transactions; gain a deep understanding of contract and taxation regimes, property rules, questions about attribution, provenance and forgeries, and the liabilities of experts, auction houses and galleries.
Examine and discuss the components and dynamics of the illicit trade in cultural objects; study the legal framework that has been established to prevent and fight the illicit trade in cultural objects.
Gain a high-level understanding of the components and dynamics of the illicit trade in cultural objects, including the crimes that art professionals might commit or fall victim to when dealing in art or antiquities; develop a critical understanding of the international legal instruments adopted to protect cultural objects as well as to prevent and fight the illicit trade (including the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property of 1970, the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects, the Council of Europe Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property of 2017, as well as the legal instruments adopted by the United Nations and the European Union); evidence an advanced understanding of the impact of international conventions on the trade in cultural objects and of the interaction between national and international institutions and regulations; learn about the application of instruments onorganised crime and money laundering to the trade in cultural objects; be acquainted with the legislation of the most relevant jurisdictions (including France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States).
Study the legal framework established to protect cultural objects in the event of armed conflicts and to punish the offences relating to cultural objects committed in wartimes.
Gain a high-level understanding of the specialised legal framework for the protection of cultural objects in the event of armed conflicts (notably the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict of 1954 and its two protocols), as well as of the relevant rules of international humanitarian law and international human rights law; analyze real-life scenarios to draw legally-sound conclusions on the applicability of existing legal instruments; engage on key contemporary legal issues, including issues of State responsibility, individual criminal responsibility (in light of the case law of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Court), the role of international organizations (including the United Nations Security Council and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect, reparation and transitional justice.
Examine and discuss the legal, ethical and policy questions raised by cultural objects and human remains removed in the past inconnection with large-scale mass atrocities.
Gain a comprehensive understanding of the political, legal and ethical questions raised by Holocaust-tainted art, colonial cultural objects and human remains; demonstrate a highly developed ability to reflect on the state of the law in relation to claims for there turn of objects or human remains develop an understanding of the work of non-judicial bodies established to deal with claims for the return of cultural objects and human remains.
Explore the relationship between cultural heritage and human rights and examine the meaning and content of the human rights rules applicable to cultural heritage.
Gain a deep understanding of the relationship between cultural heritage and human rights and of the relevant legal instruments and soft-law rules that have been adopted in this sector (such as the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of 2003, the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions of 2005, the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity of 2001, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of 2007); learn about the notion of cultural human rights and its evolution and elaboration; be acquainted about the conflicts between human rights and cultural heritage, especially those involving gender-based violence, and the notion of cultural relativism.
Explore the relationship between cultural heritage, on the one hand, and intellectual property law and innovative technologies, on the other.
Learn what museums, galleries, art market professionals and artists have to know about intellectual property rights; gain an advanced understanding of what is copyright and how it affects the management of works of art; learn or improve the knowledge in the legal and policy instruments adopted by UNESCO, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and other bodies; be acquainted with the role played by new technologies and with the issue of cultural appropriation by the fashion industry.
Examine and discuss existing methods of dispute settlement and learn from the relevant practice.
Gain strategic insight on how to deal with and resolve art and cultural objects-related cases; develop a critical understanding of the national laws that may have an impact on the resolution of disputes, including private international law rules and anti-seizure laws; learn essential skills from renowned practitioners on how to be successful in complex art and cultural objects-related cases; experience the multi-faceted nature of cultural objects-related cases through a thorough examination of the practice of national courts and international tribunals, including arbitral tribunals (such as the arbitral tribunals created under the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)); develop a broad range of legal and research skills (case analysis, problem solving, advocacy).
Blended learning : face-to-face teaching and distance-learning activities. Full online participation is possible.
- Hold a Master’s or a Bachelor’s degree in law from a University, a Master’s or a Bachelor’s degree in law from a University of Applied Sciences (HES), or a degree deemed equivalent and recognised by the University of Geneva;
- Exhibit their interest in participating in the CAS and
- Have a sound command of English; candidates who are not native English speakers must be able to show that their English language ability is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete the course via a recognised test (IELTS, TOEFL, etc.) or one or more degrees obtained following the completion of programmes taught in English.
- Prof. Marc-André Renold, Faculty of Law, Art-Law Centre, University of Geneva; UNESCO Chair in the International Law of the Protection of Cultural Heritage
- Marina Schneider, Principal Legal Officer & Treaty Depositary, International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT)
- Dr Alessandro Chechi, Senior researcher and teaching assistant, Faculty of Law, Art-Law Centre, University of Geneva
The CAS in International Cultural Heritage Law of the University of Geneva is a well-structured highlevel academic programme which covers every aspect of cultural heritage law and the protection of cultural property. Coming from a background in Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, I was particularly interested in exploring the legal instruments and ethical issues involved in illicit antiquities trafficking. The programme was exactly what I was looking for: offering courses that focus on legal aspects, but with interdisciplinary character. I was impressed by the dedication and the level of support of the teachers. They offered a high flexibility for students - especially with regards to the assessments scheduling - which made it considerably easier to reconcile the studies with other commitments. The programme broadened my research profile and will certainly be beneficial for my further career trajectory in the cultural heritage field. I highly recommend it!
I was looking for a multidisciplinary training and I wanted to better understand the many links between cultural property and the law. I was also looking for training that was both theoretical and practical, with sessions given by professors and others by practitioners. The CAS in International Cultural Heritage Law fully met these expectations. This programme opened a whole new world for me. In spite of my background in human rights and international humanitarian law, the formation allowed me to discover many issues that I only knew rather superficially before, such as the complexities surrounding restitution of works of art looted during armed conflicts. I also learned a lot about the interactions and the tensions between different branches of law such as intellectual property law and human rights law, for example when it comes to protection of indigenous peoples’ cultural heritage. I work 100%, but my employer gave me a few days off to attend the Friday modules. Then I ‘sacrificed’ a few weekends to attend the Saturday modules, read the material and prepare for the exams at the end of each module. I found the course very compatible with my professional and private commitments. What I appreciated the most is the possibility to participate in an articulated, yet accessible, reflection around current challenges of cultural heritage and law, under the guidance of leading professors and practitioners. I feel very enriched and intellectually stimulated at a both a professional and personal level.
After nearly 15 years of working in cultural heritage, I wanted to gain a different perspective and insight into the sector. This CAS gave me that new perspective and more that I was missing as a field archaeologist. It exposed me to a wide range of issues pertinent to the legal aspect of the cultural heritage sector that also directly influenced my work. The broad scope of this CAS contains material of interest not only to legal practitioners but also archaeologists and those working directly in the physical documentation and preservation of cultural heritage. Due to the diverse subject matter, the course provided an opportunity to network with and get to know others working in the cultural heritage sector in various domains, including archaeology, law, and provenance research.
I recently had the privilege of participating in the CAS on International Cultural Heritage Law at the University of Geneva, and I must say it was a very enriching experience. The program, spanning one and a half years, proved to be outstanding in numerous aspects, leaving me thoroughly impressed. First and foremost, the program boasted an impressive lineup of knowledgeable and diverse speakers. Their expertise covered a wide range of subjects related to international cultural heritage, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the field. From legal professionals specializing in heritage protection to renowned academics, the program featured individuals who were at the forefront of their respective domains. This diversity of perspectives greatly enhanced the overall learning experience. Also, the range of topics covered throughout the program was equally impressive. From the legal frameworks governing cultural heritage preservation to the ethical dilemmas surrounding, restitution for example, every aspect was greatly explored. This comprehensive approach provided an in-depth understanding of the challenges faced in the field of international cultural heritage law. Furthermore, the program's organizing professors were very flexible and keen to ensure that everyone had an enriching experience. Their desire to create an environment conducive to learning was evident throughout the programme. In conclusion, I highly recommend the International Cultural Heritage Law Certificate Program to anyone interested in deepening their knowledge of this fascinating field. It provided a stimulating and rewarding experience, leaving me with a profound appreciation for the complexities of international cultural heritage law.
Starting the CAS in international heritage law in January 2022 was the beginning of my professional journey in the art world. Each module presented its own challenges. The “CAS weekends” were usually intellectually intense. However, thanks to the various speakers, as well as my peers, who came from totally different horizons (both professionally and natively) I always looked forward to the next course, excited about what I was going to learn and mostly about comparing each speaker point of view on a specific topic. Therefore, the formation has not only allowed me to develop and deepen my knowledge in the art market, but also expanded my critical thinking on current political, societal and economic topics around our cultural heritage. Although we had a lot of substance to cover in a short amount of time, each speaker and especially Professor Chechi was always happy to take the time and answer our questions or deepen a subject matter (even via e-mail when time was sensitive). With the progress of the CAS, came the beginning of my career. Indeed, in September 2022, I started an internship in an international auction house, and was thrilled to use and apply my knowledge on an everyday basis at work. Indeed, I am constantly confronted with questions on provenance, restitution, intellectual property to cite only a few. It is always a great pleasure to apply what I have learned as well as discussing these topics with my colleagues. Personally, what made it possible for me to participate in this formation is it’s hybrid nature. I always loved to be present in the classroom for each module, but sometimes my personal and especially professional life (auction weekends etc) would take over my weekends. Each class being recorded and live streamed on zoom really helped me to stay on track and follow the progression of the course, without ever falling behind on the program. The course materials were always on topic and helped tremendously to map out the direction I wanted to go in for each of my exam. Each instructor did a great job at communicating his course and Professor Chechi managed to include every participant (even those online) in the classroom. I am very grateful for this experience, and I enjoyed the CAS in cultural heritage tremendously.