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Cultural heritage and international investment law: a stormy relationship

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>02/2008
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Cultural Property
Issue number1
Number of pages24
Pages (from-to)1-24
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper investigates the relationship between international investment law and the protection of cultural heritage. Two questions arise in this connection. First, are investment agreements compatible with states' obligations to protect cultural heritage? Second, if internal measures aimed at protecting cultural heritage can be challenged by foreign investors, is mixed arbitration a suitable forum to protect public interests Indeed, it seems that the regime established according to investment treaties does not strike an appropriate balance between the different interests concerned. After giving a brief look at the legal framework protecting foreign investments, the conflict areas between investment treaty provisions and national cultural policies are explored through an empirical analysis of the recent arbitral jurisprudence concerning cultural heritage. This paper holds that jurisprudential balancing may not provide an adequate protection to cultural heritage; thus, cultural exceptions should be included in investment agreements.