France’s Ministry of Culture Advances Three Landmark Laws

France’s Ministry of Culture Advances Three Landmark Laws Which Could Have a Significant Impact on the Restitution of the Questionable Artworks.

Jan 19, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
France’s Ministry of Culture
French Culture Minister Rima Abdul-Malak


France’s Ministry of Culture advances three landmark laws. These new laws could have a significant impact on the restitution of the Questionable Artworks. Overall, the landmark laws include looted artwork from World War II. Also, human remains and other questionable items from the colonial period.


France’s Ministry of Culture Effort in Returning of Looted  Colonial Artifacts

The exhibition “Art of Benin of yesterday and today: from Restitution to Revelation”


This is a huge step for France. It represents a huge respect for the other nations and shared past. One of the laws shows responsibility to accept Frances participation in the crimes against Jews, during the Second World War.  The French Ministry of Culture spoke earlier this week about their implementation into French laws and practice.


One of the representatives of French parliament was glad to to participate in the creation of those laws. Also, Emanuel Makron made a promise in 2017 to return artifacts which were stolen from Benin‘s ancient Palace of Abomey, Africa. This represents a huge respect of the modern France towards its former colonies. So far, ownership of 26 has been returned.


The Holocaust of the French Jews


But, regardless of the artefacts returned so far and Macron’s promise, there are still 90.000 artifacts who are part of France’s public collection. France still needs to fulfill its promise and follow other countries in Europe. This process is in slow motion because of parliament votings. There are 90.000 artifacts, and every single one needs to be a part of separate voting. “I hope 2023 will be a year of decisive progress for institutions”, said French culture minister Rima Abdul Malak.

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“France needs to accept the crimes against Jews and implement them in law” – Senator Ouzoulias

The president of France, Emanuel Macron.


Malak also explained the French policy on this question. It is important to instead of denying or repentance, choose one of recognition. The minister of culture “is very mobilized on the issue, which is a major change”, according to the senator Pierre Ouzoulias. After the announced changes came to the public, the voting will start this year. It will probably happen before the summer.


Also, it is important to say that the greater public interest led to the announcement of these laws. The big problem is that the number of humans remains in French museums remains unknown. So, the government will need to come up with a specific plan for their listing in catalogs. For these laws to be successful, it is also necessary to create special boards, who will determine if the artifacts meet criteria to remove them from France and give them back to where they belong.


The Holocaust of the French Jews


The board members will be from France and from countries who are requesting the restitution of the artifacts. Ouzoulias also thinks that it is not only important to give back the looted artifacts, but to accept crimes against Jews in World War II. Also, to implement them in French law.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.