White & Case lawyers who advise the Republic of Peru attended a special event hosted by the Embassy of Peru in Washington in connection with the resolution of a century-long dispute with Yale University relating to artifacts from the ancient Incan citadel Machu Picchu.
The Yale Daily News reported that the Peruvian ambassador to the United States presented Yale President Richard Levin the Order "The Sun of Peru" in the grade of "Great Cross" from the Peruvian government at a ceremony in Washington, DC. The ceremony came after years of disputes between the University and Peru over the ownership of relics that had been housed at in New Haven since their discovery between 1911 and 1916.
"Despite the long history and litigation process, Peru and Yale reached an agreement that is in the best interest of the protection of cultural patrimony, the historical interest of the Peruvian people and the role of Yale as a global university," commented White & Case partner Jonathan C. Hamilton after the ceremony, according to the newspaper. Hamilton led the representation of Peru together with White & Case partners Carolyn B. Lamm and Owen C. Pell. Lamm and associate Francisco X. Jijon were also present for the Embassy event.
The newspaper further reported that past negotiations over the artifacts' return were often hostile. Peru filed a lawsuit against Yale in Dec. 2008, demanding the relics' immediate return. Negotiations between the two parties stalled until 2010. In 2011, more than 350 pieces of Bingham's discovery were moved to Cuzco, the capital of the former Inca empire, in time for the 100th anniversary of Bingham's arrival at Machu Picchu. The rest of the artifacts will be returned by Dec. 31, 2012. Still brimming with excitement at the artifacts' return, Peruvian officials said the citizens of Peru were overjoyed at the return of their country's artifacts.