H.R.3497 - Iraq Cultural Heritage Protection Act108th Congress (2003-2004)
|Sponsor:||Rep. English, Phil [R-PA-3] (Introduced 11/17/2003)|
|Committees:||House - Ways and Means|
|Latest Action:||House - 12/01/2003 Referred to the Subcommittee on Trade. (All Actions)|
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Introduced in House (11/17/2003)
[Congressional Bills 108th Congress] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] [H.R. 3497 Introduced in House (IH)] 108th CONGRESS 1st Session H. R. 3497 To provide for the recovery, restitution, and protection of the cultural heritage of Iraq. _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES November 17, 2003 Mr. English (for himself and Mr. Leach) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means _______________________________________________________________________ A BILL To provide for the recovery, restitution, and protection of the cultural heritage of Iraq. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Iraq Cultural Heritage Protection Act''. SEC. 2. FINDINGS. The Congress finds that-- (1) cultural property is defined by the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict as ``movable or immovable property of great importance to the cultural heritage of every people, such as monuments of architecture, art or history . . .; archaeological sites; groups of buildings which, as a whole, are of historical or artistic interest; works of art; manuscripts, books and other objects of artistic, historical or archaeological interest; as well as scientific collections and important collections of books or archives . . .''; (2) the region of present day Iraq (ancient Mesopotamia), located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, is known as the ``Cradle of Civilization'', the birthplace of numerous societies that moved civilization from prehistory to history, and the native land of many Biblical and Koranic events; (3) the cities and rural areas of Iraq are home to some of the oldest human settlements in the world as well as more than 10,000 identified archaeological sites of cultural and historical importance and tens of thousands of other unexcavated sites; (4) Iraq continues to serve as one of the prime centers of Islamic art and culture; (5) in the 4th millennium B.C., long before the emergence of Greek or Roman culture, the Sumerian culture flourished in the region of present day Iraq, inventing the wheel, the first plow, the first ever sophisticated irrigation system, the earliest form of writing (cuneiform), and the first used calendar; (6) southern Iraq is home to the site of the ancient Sumerian city of Uruk, known to many as the first true civilized city and home to the legendary King Gilgamesh who built the city's famous great wall; (7) the city of Ur, which flourished in the 3rd millennium B.C., and is partially excavated but yet to be completely uncovered, is said to be the birthplace of Abraham; (8) Qurna at the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers is said to be the possible location of the Garden of Eden; (9) the city of Ur holds one of the world's oldest and most important ziggurats, a high rising temple of sunbaked and oven baked brick with outside staircases leading to the shrine on top and associated temples, partially excavated but yet to be completely uncovered; (10) the city of Ur is the location of one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century, a cemetery in which ancient Sumerian royalty were buried along with their servants and extravagant treasures; (11) near the city of Ur is the archaeological site of Tel Al-Ubaid, where ancient pottery and sculptures dating back to 4,500 B.C. were unearthed; (12) the Akkadian Empire ruled the region of present day Iraq in the 3rd millennium B.C. and developed new systems of weights and measures as well as some of the highest quality works of art; (13) the Babylonian people briefly ruled the region of present day Iraq in the 2nd millennium B.C. and developed the capital city of Babylon which became the commercial and cultural center of the Middle East for 2000 years; (14) the city of Babylon, flourishing from approximately 1700 to the 6th century B.C., was the center of operations for historical leaders such as Hammurabi and Nebuchadnezzar; (15) Hammurabi of Babylon promulgated a famous law code that provided precedents for both the Biblical Ten Commandments and later legal codes; (16) Babylon was home to the captive Israelites in the 6th century B.C. according to the Biblical book of Second Kings and the location of great archaeological finds including the Ishtar Gate, an enormous brick entryway into the ancient city, and famous as the site of the Hanging Gardens, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and the Biblically-referenced Tower of Babel; (17) the site of Nippur, approximately 100 miles south of Babylon, has yielded a vast collection of clay tablets with cuneiform writing, including the oldest known record of a murder trial, dating back to 1850 B.C.; (18) in 762 A.D., the city of Baghdad, founded under the rule of al-Mansur, the second caliph of the Abbasid dynasty, was the central commercial, cultural, philosophical, and intellectual capital of the world during the 9th century and for a time the center of an empire that stretched from Central Asia to Spain; (19) the city of Baghdad contains the Kadhimain mosque, the shrines of Abu Hanifa and Abd al-Qader al-Gailani, and many other medieval buildings, including other tombs, mosques, minarets, and the 13th century Mustansiriya University (an Islamic law school); (20) located sixty miles north of Baghdad is the Abbasid city of Samarra, the home to the famous Great Mosque, as well as the Abu Dalaf mosque with a spiral minaret, and other important buildings dating from 800-1200 A.D.; (21) in the modern city of Samarra, the tombs of the Tenth and Eleventh Caliphs, as well as the portal for the return of the Twelfth Caliph, are of great significance for a major segment of Shi'a Islam; (22) the tombs of the Fourth Caliph Ali and his son Husayn are located in Najaf and Karbala (respectively), which are the two most holy cities of the Shiite branch of Islam; (23) located in Iraq's third largest city, Mosul, are a Great Mosque, dating from the late 9th or early 10th century A.D., and nearby an ancient leaning brick minaret, that is all that is left of an Ommayad mosque dating from 640 A.D.; (24) in the city of Mosul is located the site of the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh, which is referenced by the Biblical prophet Zephaniah, was the site of the prophet Jonah's sermons, and includes royal Assyrian palaces and more than 20,000 cuneiform tablets from King Ashurbanipal's library; (25) south of the city of Mosul is located the ancient Assyrian capital of Nimrud, the Biblical Calah, site of the best-preserved Assyrian palace, in which were found rich royal tombs of Assyrian queens in 1989; (26) near Mosul are also located the Assyrian capitals of Ashur and Khorsabad, in which have been excavated priceless treasures, including colossal human-headed winged bulls; (27) the city of Ashur and another capital, Kar Tukulti Ninurta, across the Tigris have remains of three palaces and hold great works of art from the royal Assyrian workshops of the 13th century B.C., residences of merchants from the 18th century B.C., and temples built before the 21st century B.C., many of which have not yet been excavated; (28) the site of the ancient city of Hatra, located west of Mosul, is known as the ``City of the Sun'' which holds many archaeological remains, especially Parthian artifacts, and served as a trade and military route along the Wadi Tharthar; (29) located at the site of the Parthian and later Sassanian capital of Ctesiphon, 20 miles southeast of Baghdad, are the remains of a gigantic vaulted hall, the Taq Kisra, which has one of the largest single-span brick arches in the world and is extremely fragile; (30) it should be recognized that the aforementioned Iraqi cities and archaeological sites comprise a representative but not comprehensive list of endangered cultural antiquities; (31) despite extensive efforts by U.S. and coalition forces to limit damage to archaeological and cultural sites during Operation Iraqi Freedom, looting has been widespread in the aftermath of the military conflict. Thousands of items are reported missing from the National Museum, the Archives, Library and the modern art museum in Baghdad, and large-scale looting has occurred at numerous recorded and unrecorded archaeological sites, including Adab, Umm al-Aqarib, Isin, Larsa, Nippur, Zabalam, Shuruppak, and Umm al-Hafriyat. SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS. In this Act-- (1) the term ``archaeological material of Iraq''-- (A) means any object or fragment or part of an object that was first found within the borders of Iraq and that-- (i) was built, manufactured, sculpted, produced, or written by humans; (ii) is at least 100 years old; and (iii) was discovered as a result of scientific excavation, illegal or clandestine digging, accidental discovery, or exploration on land or under water; (B) includes all human and animal skeletal remains, as well as floral and botanical remains, that are found in association with archaeological material described in subparagraph (A); and (C) does not include any coin or coin-like object that is less than 250 years old; (2) the term ``coin or coin-like object'' means any piece of gold, silver, or other metal or material, that is-- (A) fashioned into a prescribed shape, weight, or degree of fineness, and (B) stamped or embellished with a device, by the authority of a government or governmental or quasi-public authority in order that the piece may circulate as currency; (3) the term ``cultural material of Iraq'' means any object, regardless of age, including manuscripts, and materials used for traditional or religious ceremonial purposes, or a fragment or part of an object, that was, on or after August 2, 1990, in the care of Iraq's cultural or religious institutions and is of historic, artistic, religious, scientific, or cultural interest. SEC. 4. IMPORT RESTRICTION. (a) Import Prohibition.--No archaeological material of Iraq or cultural material of Iraq that was removed from Iraq after Executive Order 12722 of August 2, 1990, was issued may be imported into the United States, unless the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection of the Department of Homeland Security determines that exportation of the material from Iraq was lawful pursuant to a valid certification or other documentation issued by the appropriate governing authority in Iraq certifying that the exportation of the material was not in violation of the laws of Iraq. (b) Customs Action in Absence of Documentation.--If the consignee of any archaeological material of Iraq or cultural material of Iraq is unable to present to the appropriate customs officer at the time of making entry of such material the certification or other documentation by the appropriate governing authority in Iraq required under subsection (a), the customs officer shall detain the material, and shall send it to a bonded warehouse or store to be held at the risk and expense of the consignee, notwithstanding any other provision of law, until such certification or other documentation is filed with such officer. If such certification or other documentation is not presented within 90 days after the date on which such material is detained, or such longer period as may be allowed by the Secretary of Homeland Security for good cause shown, the material shall be subject to seizure and forfeiture. (c) Lifting of Import Prohibitions.--The import prohibitions imposed under this Act on archaeological or cultural material of Iraq shall cease to be effective with respect to archaeological or cultural material that is removed from Iraq at the end of the 6-month period beginning on the date on which paragraph 7 of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1483, adopted on May 22, 2003, ceases to be effective or is suspended pursuant to a decision of the United Nations Security Council. SEC. 5. FORFEITURE OF UNLAWFUL IMPORTS. (a) Seizure.--Archaeological material of Iraq or cultural material of Iraq that is imported into the United States in violation of this Act shall be seized and subject to forfeiture under the customs laws of the United States. All provisions of law relating to seizure, forfeiture, and condemnation for violation of the customs laws shall apply to seizures and forfeitures under this Act, insofar as those provisions of law are applicable to, and not inconsistent with, the provisions of this Act. (b) Disposition of Articles.--Any archaeological material of Iraq or cultural material of Iraq that is forfeited to the United States under this Act shall be returned to the country of Iraq. SEC. 6. COUNTRY OF ORIGIN. In applying the Tariff Act of 1930 or any other provision of the customs laws of the United States to an article that is an object, or fragment of an object, discovered as a result of scientific excavation, illegal or clandestine digging, accidental discovery, or exploration on land or under water, the country of origin of the object or fragment is the country within whose borders, as they exist at the time the object or fragment is imported, or attempted to be imported, into the United States, the object or fragment was first discovered or excavated. SEC. 7. AMENDMENTS TO CONVENTION ON CULTURAL PROPERTY IMPLEMENTATION ACT. (a) Definition of Archaeological or Ethnological Material.--Section 302 of the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (19 U.S.C. 2601) is amended-- (1) in paragraph (2)(i)-- (A) by amending subclause (II) to read as follows: ``(II) subject to subclause (IV), is at least 100 years old''; and (B) by inserting after subclause (III) the following: ``(IV) in the case of any coin or coin-like object, is at least 250 years old; and''; (2) by redesignating paragraphs (3) through (11) as paragraphs (4) through (12), respectively; and (3) by inserting after paragraph (2) the following: ``(3) The term `coin or coin-like object' means any piece of gold, silver, or other metal or material, that is-- ``(A) fashioned into a prescribed shape, weight, or degree of fineness, and ``(B) stamped or embellished with a device, by the authority of a government or governmental or quasi- public authority in order that the piece may circulate as currency.''. (b) Emergency Implementation of Import Restrictions.--Section 304 of the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (19 U.S.C. 2603) is amended-- (1) by striking ``State Party'' each place it appears and inserting ``country''; and (2) in subsection (c)-- (A) by striking paragraphs (1) and (2); and (B) by striking paragraph (3) and inserting the following: ``(1) No import restrictions under section 307 may be applied under this section to the archaeological or ethnological materials of any country for more than 10 years after the date on which the notice in the Federal Register imposing such restrictions is published. Such 10-year period may be extended by the President for additional periods if the President determines that the emergency condition continues to apply with respect to the archaeological or ethnological material.''; and (B) in paragraph (4)-- (i) by redesignating such paragraph as paragraph (2); and (ii) by striking ``paragraph (3)'' and inserting ``paragraph (1)''. (c) Cultural Property Advisory Committee.--Section 306 of the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (19 U.S.C. 2605) is amended-- (1) in subsection (b)(1)-- (A) by striking ``eleven'' and inserting ``thirteen''; (B) in subparagraph (A), by striking ``Two'' and inserting ``Three''; and (C) by adding at the end the following: ``(E) One member who shall be an expert in the field of conservation of archaeological or ethnological artifacts, sites, or related areas.''; (2) in subsection (d), by striking ``Six'' and inserting ``Seven''; (3) in subsection (f)-- (A) by striking paragraph (3) and redesignating paragraphs (4) through (6) as paragraphs (3) through (5), respectively; and (B) in paragraph (3), as so redesignated-- (i) by striking ``or the implementation of emergency action under section 304''; and (ii) in subparagraph (B), by striking ``or action''. (d) Conforming Amendments.--The Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act is amended-- (1) in section 302 (19 U.S.C. 2601)-- (A) in paragraph (2)-- (i) by amending the matter preceding subparagraph (A) to read as follows: ``(2) The term `archaeological or ethnological material' of a State Party or other country means--''; and (ii) in the matter following subparagraph (C), by inserting ``or other country'' after ``State Party''; and (B) in paragraph (8), as redesignated by subsection (a)(2) of this section, by inserting ``or another country'' after ``State Party''; (2) in section 305 (19 U.S.C. 2604) in the first sentence, by striking ``by such action'' and inserting ``the country covered by such action''; (3) in section 307 (19 U.S.C. 2606)-- (A) in subsection (a)-- (i) by striking ``the State Party'' the first place it appears and inserting ``the country concerned''; and (ii) by striking ``the State Party'' each subsequent place it appears and inserting ``that country''; and (B) in subsections (b) and (c), by striking ``the State Party'' each place it appears and inserting ``the country concerned''; (4) in section 310(b) (19 U.S.C. 2609(b)) by striking ``State Party'' each place it appears and inserting ``country concerned''; and (5) in section 312(2)(C) (19 U.S.C. 2611(2)(C)), by striking ``State Party'' and inserting ``country''. (e) Extension of Agreements.-- (1) Extension.--Section 303 of the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (19 U.S.C. 2602) is amended-- (A) in subsection (b), by striking ``five-year'' and inserting ``10-year''; and (B) in subsection (e), by striking ``five years'' and inserting ``10 years''. (2) Existing agreements.--Any agreement that is entered into under section 303(a) of the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act before the date of enactment of this Act and is in effect on such date of the enactment, shall be effective for a period of ten years beginning on the date on which the agreement entered into force with respect to the United States. <all>