RITHMS at CULTNET Annual Meeting
CULTNET, an Informal Network of Law Enforcement Authorities and Experts Competent in the field of cultural goods, recently organized this year's gathering in Madrid from the 24th to the 26th of October, 2023. This event, hosted during the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, brought together industry experts and institutions devoted to preserving our cultural heritage. Notable members of CULTNET include the European Commission, Europol, and INTERPOL.
The primary focus of this year's meeting was addressing the challenges of crimes against cultural heritage in Spain, with a special emphasis on fostering collaboration among various institutions engaged in this important endeavor. A significant spotlight was also placed on the protection of cultural heritage in conflict zones, particularly focusing on the cultural heritage of Ukraine.
Law enforcement agencies from across Europe gathered to share their experiences in combating the illicit trafficking of cultural treasures and art-related crimes. Three key RITHMS partners took center stage:
- The Brigade of Cultural Heritage of the Spanish National Police, chair and organizer of this year's CULTNET meeting, shed light on the "Leona" operation, revealing the case of clandestine excavations and the illicit sale of Iberian artifacts.
- The Carabinieri of the Italian Cultural Heritage Protection Unit showcased the "Artemis" operation.
- The Dutch Police led the discussion on the future development of the CULTNET network.
Dr. Arianna Traviglia, Director of the Centre for Cultural Heritage Technology (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia) and Project Coordinator for RITHMS, presented the project's goals and current activities. She discussed how RITHMS can evolve into a vital tool for law enforcement agencies in the ongoing fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural goods.