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Abstract

This Note analyzes respective legal arguments that Ukraine and the Crimean museums can make to prove ownership of the objects. Part I establishes several elements key to the subsequent discussion, including the political and historical background of this dispute, the relevant laws on a national and international level, and the role of ethics and morality in the field of cultural heritage laws generally. Part II will consider relevant cultural heritage case studies, including treaties that divided cultural property after countries broke apart, the Thailand-Cambodian border dispute and the temple of Preah Vihear, and cases involving Soviet nationalized art. Past case studies can provide examples of how countries solved cultural heritage disputes that contained similar elements to this Ukraine-Crimea dispute. Finally, Part III analyzes the legal arguments that are available to both Ukraine and the Crimean museums within the context of the Ukrainian laws, international conventions, and case studies discussed in Parts I and II. This Note argues that although the artifacts should be returned to the Crimean museums for moral reasons, the law as it stands does not support this position.

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