FW: crime

Joseph Laferriere joseph at BIO2.COM
Wed Jul 12 08:48:00 CDT 1995

I agree to a certain expent, but three comments:

1) The legal standard of "innocent until proven guilty" is allegedly the law
in the US, but in many other countries (including some in Europe) just the
opposite is the case.

2) The very nature of the crime does place some burden of proof on the
collector to demonstrate that he/she does indeed have the proper permits. Of
course, many countries do not make this easy. In all three foreign countries
I have worked in (Mexico, Colombia, and Indonesia) it has often been
impossible to get a straight answer from government officials or local
botanists on exactly what kind of permits are required.

3) I do believe this is an important topic for discussion. Every taxonomist
on the planet is affected by this topic.

As an aside, I am flattered by Dr. Makinson's comment about my message from
a few days ago. I try.

Joe Laferriere
joseph at bio2.com
From: owner-taxacom
To: Multiple recipients of list TAXACOM
Date: Wednesday 12 July 1995 11:14AM

I've been reading all the messages concerning UNIDROIT and repatriation of
specimens for several days and I think that the whole discussion went the
wrong way (if there
was a need of a discussion at all). There is no point to argue where the
museums are better - in
first, second, or third world countries, or whether the images of specimens
on the Internet can
be used for taxonomical studies.

I think that everything is much simpler. As I understand, the UNIDROIT
concerns the repatriation
of _only_ _illegally_ collected, or _illegally_ exported specimens. That
means that if a
country/institution/individual demands the return of certain specimens, it
accuses the other
country/institution/individual in committing a crime. As with any other
legal case, the decisions
should be made based on a presumption of the innocence. In other words, any
specimen (with
or without accompanying paperwork) should be considered _legally_
collected/exported unless
the opposite is proven. And it should be a burden of the side demanding the
repatriation to
provide the evidence of a law violation, and to prove that the specimens
were illegally
collected/exported. Not the other way over!


Andrey Sharkov

Andrey Sharkov
Associate Curator
Department of Entomology
Museum of Biodiversity
The Ohio State University
1315 Kinnear Rd.
Columbus, OH 43212

Phone: (614) 292-2730
FAX: (614) 292-7774
INTERNET: asharkov at magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu  or  Sharkov.1 at osu.edu

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