Saturday, April 09, 2011
"Armenian restitution claims on the rise"
Most restitution claims relating to wartime looting are in connection with the World Wars or the Holocaust but The Art Newspaper has reported that, according to Loyola Law School, legal claims of looting during the Armenian "massacres" (which many would characterize as "genocide") are on the rise. Not surprisingly, the claims are said to be following the approach adopted in Holocaust restitution claims. The case of the Armenian Apostolic Church against the Getty Museum in Los Angeles is thus far the most notable but it may only be the "tip of the iceberg." The Church has sued the museum for the return of seven pages from a medieval Armenian Bible "almost a century ago" but the museum argues that it bought them legally. Even if the case does settle out of court, it's predicted to open the door to more cases of this kind. Two big obstacles to all restitution claims are whether the end buyer is a bona fide purchaser for value without notice (usually protected at law) and the statute of limitations (the key question being from which date should the statutory period start to run in these cases).