Italians are known throughout the world for their laidback, relaxed way of life. There’s even an Italian phrase to describe this pleasant idleness: dolce far niente. In one particular case, doing “nothing” didn’t turn out to be so sweet.
Following six years of legal antics, the trial of the American art dealer Robert Hecht ended the week of January 16, 2012 due to the expiration of the statute of limitations on his alleged criminal activities: the same “judgment” that Hecht’s co-conspirator, the former curator of antiquities at the Getty Museum Marion True, received in October of 2010. Of the three primary accomplices in one of the most infamous cases involving the illicit trafficking of antiquities, only Giacomo Medici was convicted by an Italian court.
Following these miscarriages of justice, certain questions arise. Should the statute of limitations be increased for the trade of illicit artifacts? Do such results necessitate change in the Italian legal system? Should the United States, or other nations for that matter, be permitted to prosecute Hecht, True and Medici? At least one positive outcome resulted from the conspiracy, trials and surrounding media coverage—the long-overdue alteration of acquisition guidelines adopted by many American museums.
Thank you, Robert Hecht! Thank you, Marion True! Even you, Giacomo Medici. Your ignominious acts have unintentionally aided the fight to secure our cultural heritage for the foreseeable future.
Originally posted by Joshua Mix on CulturalSecurity.net.
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