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Argentina returns cultural property to Peru
 
    
Some 4,000 illegally-trafficked pieces, mostly archaeological, will be repatriated

2 December 2015/ Ministry of Culture of Peru

Some 4,000 items, mostly illegally trafficked archaeological pieces, will be returned to our country by Argentina, in what constitutes the largest repatriation of illegally trafficked objects to date. The archaeological pieces are linked to the legal processes against Janeir Aude and others, Croizat-Mercovan, Makarius and Paravano. Coins of historical value are also involved.

The Janeir Aude Case is the most important of these. It began in the year 2000, when the National Aeronautics Police of Argentina raided several galleries and commercial establishments in Buenos Aires, where more than 15,000 pieces were confiscated, dismantling a black-market network of archaeological objects. At a later date, new investigations led to other raids, whereby a total of some 22,833 objects were confiscated.

Specialists from the Buenos Aires Institute of Anthropology and Latin American Thought (INALP) perceived the presence of a great number of pieces of allegedly Peruvian origin, and they notified the then National Institute of Culture (INC). In 2005, a first inspection was made, in charge of Dr Luis Guillermo Lumbreras. Two years later, there was a second inspection, carried out by a team of archaeologists from the Department of Defence of the former INC.

On November 2011, the National Criminal and Correctional Federal Court No. 3 of Argentina, after a period of 10 years, sentenced the dismissal of the case, and the confiscation and return to Peru of 3,898 archaeological cultural objects. However, due to the countless appeals of the defendants, the process was prolonged until 28 May 2014, when the last judicial sentence ruled their effective delivery to the Republic of Peru. Due to the amount of items involved, the packing process ended in November, and only the date of their return to our country remains pending.

The Ministry of Culture appreciates the proactivity and cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Relations regarding the favourable closing of this case. It also thanked Argentine professionals and institutions, such as INALP, the National Department of Heritage and Museums of the Ministry of Culture of Argentina, the Cultural Heritage Division of INTERPOL-Argentina, and the lawyers who successfully conducted the legal process.

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