December 16, 2003

Greece asks courts to rule on the Elgin Marbles

Posted at 12:58 pm in Elgin Marbles

Greek bar associations are planning on asking the European Court of Human rights to rule on the Elgin Marbles Issue. Hopefully this action will proceed, unlike other similar cases in the past that has started with high enthusiasm, but then dropped below the radar at a later date.

Independent Online (Zaire)

Greece to ask court to rule on Elgin Marbles
December 15 2003 at 02:21PM

Athens – Greek bar associations will ask the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights to rule on their country’s long-standing demand for the return from Britain of the Elgin Marbles, an official said on Monday.

“The relevant papers should be finished by the end of year,” Yiannis Stamoulis, the lawyer preparing the case, told AFP.

Stamoulis was asked by the presidents of Greece’s bar associations to prepare the complaint.

The news came as Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis was to hold talks in London with British counterpart Tony Blair on a number of issues, including the claim to the archaeological find.

“I imagine the (marbles) issue will be brought up,” Greek government spokesperson Christos Protopapas told reporters on Monday.

Successive Greek governments have called on London’s British Museum to return the fifth-century BC marbles, including 56 sculpted marble plaques originally forming the eastern frieze of the Parthenon, together with 12 statues.

“The marbles are property of the Greek state. Greek citizens can therefore seize the court because their individual right to enjoy cultural riches where they belong is violated,” Stamoulis said.

“It would be pointless to resort to British courts as long as the British government refuses to hand them back,” he added.

Since its independence in 1832, Greece has repeatedly requested the return of the marbles and their fate has dogged relations between the two countries ever since.

Greece wants Britain to return the marbles ahead of the August 2004 Olympics, possibly as a permanent loan or in exchange with other artefacts. – Sapa-AFP

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