Brooklyn Journal of International Law

First Page



In 2020, the conversation surrounding the return of cultural property acquired during the colonial era was given new life after the world watched as Black Lives Matter activists exposed systemic racial injustice in the United States. Thousands of objects currently sit in western museums under the guise of sharing these cultures and civilizations with the world, but this brings little comfort to communities suffering the genocidal consequences of colonialism. As formerly colonized nations battle the western world for the return of their cultural property, success is often dictated by a combination of power, money, and the ability to turn the tide of public opinion. This Note explores different methods used for the restitution of cultural property and the rise of alternative dispute resolution as a powerful tool for developing nations as they acquire a foothold in the global economy and compares these methods with governmental efforts to return Nazi-looted artworks to victims of the Holocaust. This Note also advocates for a uniform international approach to cultural property restitution as an alternative to piecemeal international and domestic efforts.