Andrey Sharkov asharkov at MAGNUS.ACS.OHIO-STATE.EDU
Wed Jul 12 12:08:07 CDT 1995

--I am resending this message because the first time I forgot to indicate
the subject. Sorry, if you are reading it second time.--

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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