February 1, 2024: new purviews, new name, new deliberative college of CIVS

Published on 18/04/2024 - Updated on 22/05/2024

The reform of the policy of restitution of cultural goods spoilated in the context of Anti-Semitic persecutions between 1933 and 1945, introduced by the law of July 22, 2023 and its decree of January 5, 2024, entered into force on February 1, 2024.

CIVS now exercises new purviews and a new deliberative college has been appointed by the Prime Minister. Its president is Mr. Michel Jeannoutot, honorary advisor at the Court of Cassation, and his vice-president is Mr. Christophe Devys, President of section at the Council of State.

In 1999, the CIVS, then called Commission for the compensation of victims of spoliations that have occurred due to the Anti-Semitic legislation in force during the Occupation, was instituted to recommend to the Prime Minister, on referral to the victims or their heirs, Repair measures for anti -Semitic spoliations committed in France between 1940 and 1944.

In 2018, the methods of referral to the CIVS were extended to allow the search for owners, or their beneficiaries, cultural goods robbed in France between 1940 and 1944 in application of anti -Semitic legislation. However, the restitution of public properties came up against the principle of inalienability of public collections. Thus, a case law of February 21, 2022 was necessary to allow the restitution of 15 tables to the heirs of their owners, victims of anti -Semitic spoliations.

The framework law of July 22, 2023 now makes it possible to derogate, after the opinion of the CIVS, in the principle of inalienability to pronounce the exit from the public domain of a cultural property spoken for the purposes of its restitution for its legitimate owners. This law provides that a decree in the Council of State specifies the rules relating to the competence, the composition, the organization and the functioning of the CIVS. This is the subject of the decree of January 5, 2024, entered into force on February 1, 2024.

CIVS, now called Commission for the Restitution of Property and the Compensation of Victims of Anti-Semitic Spoliations, is now responsible for three distinct missions:

  • Recommend repair measures for material and banking Anti-Semitic spoliations that have occurred in France between 1940 and 1944, exclusively on the referral to the beneficiaries;
  • Recommend reparation measures for Anti-Semitic spoliations of cultural goods which have taken place in France between 1940 and 1944, on the referral of any person concerned or by autosaisine;
  • Recommend the restitution of cultural goods robbed in the context of Nazi Anti-Semitic persecution, including outside France, between 1933 and 1945, when these goods were kept in a public or assimilated collection.
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