Showing results 13 - 24 of 74 for the tag: Legal action.

March 6, 2013

How the Greeks might be able to secure the return of the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 9:10 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

I have to admit, that I’m fairly unconvinced by the plan presented in this book – but perhaps it is still better than having no plan. In my opinion, this particular proposal, draws on too many sources & makes too many slightly tenuous jumps to be seen as completely credible. At the end of the day, it does not come across to me as a clear concise argument that can be used to bring about restitution of the sculptures.

An interesting read nonetheless though.

From:
Neos Kosmos

How the Greeks can get their marbles back
The legal argument for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece
18 Oct 2012
Kathryn-Magnolia Feeley

The Parthenon Marbles will never be handed back to Greece on cultural grounds. That would upset the status quo of museums and collectors worldwide. But any reference of artefacts to present day religious significance sends tremors down the spine of curators of museums, as it would, undoubtedly encroach upon issues of Human Rights.

This must be the basis of the argument for Greece to regain the Parthenon Marbles. In 1801, Greece was under the occupation of the Turks. The Earl of Elgin, the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire at the time, bribed the Turks in order to get permission to hack away at the sculptures of the Parthenon. Elgin filled over 100 large packing cases with friezes, metopes and figures from the pediments and shipped them to England where they were sold to the British Museum in 1816 for £35,000 to pay his debts.
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February 28, 2013

The Court of the District of Columbia & the Chabad jews – a possible solution to the Parthenon Marbles case?

Posted at 2:29 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Paul Barford raises an interesting question on his blog, regarding a recent case in the USA. Essentially, the gist of the post relates back to an earlier story, about the fallout from a court case in the courts of the District of Columbia.

The case was brought by Chabad Jews, who have been campaigning for the return of two collections of books & manuscripts from Russia since the 1980s. They filed a lawsuit in 2004. In July 2010, the court ordered the Russia to return the library & archives to Chabad. At this point, Russia ignored the judgement. A month ago, on 16th January 2013, the same court sanctioned the Russian Government $50,00 per day for not complying with their ruling.

Since then, Russia’s foreign ministry has taken the retaliatory move, of recommending that two government agencies sue the US Library of Congress. If this case was to proceed, it would take place in a Russian court. It is taken against the Library of Congress, because through the inter-library loans programme (of which the LOC was the conduit), in 1994, seven books were lent to the Shabad group & never returned.

Russia has also taken the move of placing an embargo on any loans to museums in the USA, due to fears that artefacts will be seized.

Now, I’m not at all sure at this stage what the outcome of all this will be – but, the fact remains, that sanctions taken in a court outside the home country still have a potential to provoke a reaction.

Previously, I have been party to suggestions that a similar move could be taken by the Greek Government against the British Museum & the District of Columbia was mentioned as one possible jurisdiction under which this might take place. Now, I’m hoping that if it did take place, it would follower a calmer course than the current case, but it is indisputable, that the threat of legal action based on this precedent would be a strong incentive to negotiate.

Part of the problem with the Parthenon Marbles case, is that there has never been enough pressure placed against the British Museum / British Government. Essentially, they don’t feel that they currently have to respond to anything. If requests for negotiations are ever issued by Greece, these are closed out fairly quickly by laying down pre-conditions that Greece will never agree to – essentially asking them to give up something before the discussions can even start. Something needs to be done to show the British Museum that Greece means business – that the issue will not just go away.

Italy did not succeed in their requests against the US, until initiating legal action – although in many cases, the (serious) threat of legal action was eough to start off proper negotiations leading to the settlement i.e. it never actually went to court.

Clearly, in the case of the Chabad Jews (of which much more could be written), negotiating was off the agenda, as the case is being pursued to the bitter end, & looks like it could develop into a full blown diplomatic incident if one side doesn’t back down. Essentially (from the perspective of an outsider) they have taken a weapon & used it unwisely – and could end up blowing off their own feet in the process.

Notwithstanding the above point though, the fact remains – the legal route offers a path to negotiation & resolution of the case that has not yet been properly explored. Greece has tried the gentle discussions route for years & made little progress – so perhaps it is now time to take a different tack?

From:
The Art Newspaper

Russian agencies move to sue US Library of Congress
Threatened lawsuits could result in sanctions against the US, in retaliation for $50,000 per day penalties against Russia
By Laura Gilbert. Web only
Published online: 12 February 2013

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has recommended that two Russian government agencies sue the US Library of Congress, the news agency Pravda reported Friday. The move, seemingly in retaliation for US court-ordered sanctions against Russia costing $50,000 per day, is the latest twist in the ongoing dispute between the Brooklyn-based Jewish group Chabad and Russia.

Chabad has been trying to obtain two collections of Jewish books and manuscripts from Russia since the 1980s and filed a lawsuit in 2004. On 16 January, a Washington, DC District Court sanctioned the Russian government $50,000 per day because Russia had not followed the court’s July 2010 order to turn over the library and archive to Chabad. Shortly after the order, Russia initiated an embargo, which is still in effect, on lending art to American museums, claiming it feared Chabad would seize its art in order to enforce the judgment. American museums responded by refusing to loan art works to Russian institutions. Chabad, for its part, says it will not claim Russian art that is immune from seizure under US law but would enforce the judgment by seizing other Russian property in the US and through monetary sanctions.
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February 22, 2013

New legislation in Europe may help recovery of looted national treasures

Posted at 8:58 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

New legislation proposed by the European Commission may help EU member states to recover artefacts that they believe have been illegally removed from their country. The clear limitation though, is that this would only work when both countries are EU members – which instantly strikes the majority of high profile restitution cases off the list of ones covered by the legislation. Although, the Parthenon Marbles would of course be covered.

Until more details of the legislation are published, it is hard to guage what the actual impact of it might be.

From:
New Europe

New legislation to facilitate recovery of illegally removed national treasures
Article | February 19, 2013 – 1:52pm | By Elena Ralli

The European Commission is planning to help Member States recover national treasures which have been unlawfully removed from their territory by amending its current legislation that has several inadequacies. Consequently, the European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani proposed today to strengthen the possibility for restitution available to Member States.

As Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship stated: “Safeguarding the cultural heritage of all Member States is of major importance to the European Union. Our proposal is therefore necessary to further strengthen the effectiveness of the fight against illegal trafficking in cultural goods. The harmful effect on our national treasures represent a serious threat to the preservation of the origins and history of our civilization.”
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December 17, 2012

Turkish compaigners may go to European Court of Human Rights over Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in British Museum

Posted at 1:57 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Turkey is planning on taking the dispute over the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (Currently in the British Museum) to the European Court of Human Rights. This follows on from Turkey’s aggressive campaigning in recent months against various museums holding artefacts from Turkey, where the ownership is disputed.

From:
Guardian

Turkey turns to human rights law to reclaim British Museum sculptures
Dalya Alberge
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 8 December 2012 19.29 GMT

Human rights legislation that has overturned the convictions of terrorists and rapists could now rob the British Museum of sculptures created for one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

A Turkish challenge in the European court of human rights will be a test case for the repatriation of art from one nation to another, a potential disaster for the world’s museums.
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November 14, 2012

Why don’t we just sue the British Museum? A litigator’s perspective on the Elgin Marbles debate

Posted at 9:17 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Michael J Reppas, the chair of the American Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures has written a new book about how the issue of the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures might be approached from a legal perspective.

You can order it online from Barnes & Noble here. For some reason it doesn’t seem to be in Amazon’s catalog.

From:
Hellenic Communications Service

Book Release for Why Don’t We Just Sue the British Museum? A Litigator’s Perspective on the Elgin-Parthenon Marbles Debate by Michael J. Reppas, II, Esq.

Title: Why Don’t We Just Sue the British Museum? A Litigator’s Perspective on the Elgin-Parthenon Marbles Debate
Author: Michael J. Reppas, II, Esq.
Publisher: E-volve Publishing, LLC, 8004 NW 154h St. #214, Miami, FL 33016
Date of Publication: 2012
Language: English
ISBN: 978–0-9859755-0-0
Price: $29.99 (plus $3.50 S&H)
Description: 306pp softcover, incl. illus.
Availability: Website of The American Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, Inc. (downloadable order form) at the URL http://www.parthenonmarblesusa.org/index.php/support-acrps/michael-j-reppas-new-book . All proceeds donated by author to The American Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, Inc.

About the Book

Reppas skillfully crafts a trial for the return of the Marbles, with an impassioned Opening Statement, engaging trial transcript dialogue, introduction of exhibits and evidence, and Closing Statement.
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November 12, 2012

Revisiting S2212 – The flaws inherent in the Foreign Cultural Exchange Judicial Immunity Clarification Act

Posted at 7:03 pm in Similar cases

Nikki Georgopulos has written a very extensive piece for the Plundered Art blog about the man issues with Senate Bill S2212 (the Foreign Cultural Exchange Judicial Immunity Clarification Act). While the act gives the impression of helping the current situation, in reality it causes as many problems as it solves.

Her article is in two parts.

Part 1.

Part 2.

October 16, 2012

The legal arguments for the return of the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 1:36 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

If you talk to a group of lawyers who believe the return of the Elgin Marbles could be brought about by legal action (as I have done), and each one that you talk to will have a different idea of exactly how it can be achieved – in terms of which court, which jurisdiction, and which points form the basis of the case. One fact remains though – Italy argued for a long time with many of the big US museums for the return of looted artefacts – but only started to see any results once they had initiated legal proceedings against them. Whether or not legal action is aimed at winning the case in court, it can be a powerful tool for bringing people to the negotiating table with a more serious mindset – taking the case seriously rather than ignoring it in the hope that it will go away.

This new book by Greek Australian lawyer Kathryn-Magnolia Feeley gives her perspective on the legal issues involved.

From:
Greek Reporter

Feeley’s Legal Argument For the Return of the Greek Marbles
By Stella Tsolakidou on October 13, 2012 in News

Australian lawyer Kathryn-Magnolia Feeley offers her own approach to the issue of the return of the Parthenon Marbles from London to Athens. Her ideas will be officially launched Oct. 14 during her book presentation in Canberra.

The author of “How The Greeks Can Get Their Marbles Back- the legal argument for the return of the Parthenon Marbles ” is an expert on human rights law and has worked as an archaeologist in Greece before taking up her lawyer profession.
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July 16, 2012

Could legal action form a solution to the Parthenon Sculptures dispute?

Posted at 1:08 pm in Elgin Marbles

More coverage of the discussions over the merits of using legal action to expedite the resolution of the long running dispute between Greece & the UK over the Elgin Marbles.

From:
BBC News

21 June 2012 Last updated at 02:42
To sue or not to sue? Parthenon Marbles activists debate
By Trevor Timpson BBC News

Activists from around the world seeking the return of the Parthenon sculptures to Athens have met in London to discuss their strategy as Greece faces troubled times.

“The Olympics are a four-yearly reminder to the world of all we owe to Greece,” said former MP Eddie O’Hara – who chairs the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles.
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July 10, 2012

Possibilities of filing a lawsuit against the British Museum over the Elgin Marbles

Posted at 12:55 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Amongst supporters of the return of the Parthenon Marbles, opinion is heavily divided over whether legal action is likely to be a successful way to resolve the situation. Italy has had a lot of success with such an approach in resent years – despite the fact that not many cases end up going to trial, it shows that the request is a serious one & encourages the parties to enter into proper negotiations rather than ignoring the issue.

From
Greek Reporter

Greek-Australians to File Appeal Against Britain for the Restoration of the Parthenon Marbles
By Areti Kotseli on June 26, 2012 in News

In collaboration with special committees dedicated to the cause across the world, Greek-Australians are prepared to file a lawsuit against Great Britain with regards to the return of the Parthenon Marbles. Greeks of the Diaspora are trying hard to press the British government to return these valuable examples of Greece’s stolen cultural heritage.

The announcement was made during the London International Colloquy on the matter. Undisclosed evidence advancing the existing ethical and legal argument for the return of the marbles was presented during the colloquy, where three campaigning organizations for the Parthenon Marbles from the UK, USA and Australia convened in a historic unified effort.
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June 19, 2012

Leopold Museum settlement to allow them to keep Nazi looted Schiele painting

Posted at 8:00 am in Similar cases

Vienna’s Leopold Museum have settled with the claimants of Jenny Steiner to allow them to keep a painting by Egon Schiele. Previous court rulings had instructed the museum to return the painting, which had been looted by the Nazis. It is unclear what the cost of the settlement was for the museum.

To an extent, cases such as this point that there is more than one way to settling restitution cases – and that a case does not necessarily open the floodgates for the emptying of museums. In many cases, the original owners either don’t want, or don’t have the facilities to look after the artfacts in question, but are looking for some sort of compensation for its loss, or in some cases merely an acknowledgement that they are the legitimate owners of it.

From:
Bloomberg News

Austria’s Leopold Museum Settles on Nazi-Looted Schiele Painting
By Zoe Schneeweiss – Jun 14, 2012 11:00 AM GMT

Vienna’s Leopold Museum agreed to settle with the remaining claimants of Jenny Steiner to keep in its collection Egon Schiele’s “Houses by the Sea,” that was stolen by the Nazis.

The 1914 painting belonged to Steiner until she fled Austria in 1938, shortly after the Nazis marched into Vienna. She escaped to Paris and later emigrated to the U.S. with her two daughters. The painting was seized and sold by the Nazis, then later auctioned. Rudolf Leopold, the founder of the Leopold Museum, acquired it in 1955.
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June 7, 2012

Court orders Flamenbaum family to return Nazi looted artefacts to museum

Posted at 1:27 pm in Similar cases

Some sources have described this situation as restitution in reverse – but it is really only reversed, in terms of the fact that the party the artefact was taken from is a museum & the party that now holds it is an individual. The ruling does nothing to reverse the logical outcome – that the party holding onto the looted artefact is instructed to hand it back to the original owner.

From:
New York Times

Nazi Victim’s Family Told to Return Artifact
By PATRICIA COHEN
Published: June 1, 2012

The decision turns on its head the familiar scenario of Holocaust victims suing to reclaim property stolen or extorted from them by the Nazis. But in this case, according to court papers, the precious 3,200-year-old Assyrian artifact had been looted, not from the survivor, but from the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin, at the close of World War II.

It is not clear how the survivor, Riven Flamenbaum, came into possession of the tablet after his liberation from Auschwitz in 1945, when he was sent to a displaced persons camp in southeastern Germany.
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May 25, 2012

Dispute over Senate bill S. 2212 over looted artefacts loaned to museums

Posted at 8:07 am in Similar cases

The Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act has stirred up quite a bit of controversy in the USA.

Many who have examined the bill (S. 2212) say that despite exemptions in the planned law, it is only really there to protect the interests of the big museums – while reducing the chances of recovering looted artefacts by the original owners (or their descendants).

From:
New York Times

Dispute Over Bill on Borrowed Art
The heirs of Malevich sought to recover paintings, including the ones displayed above center and right.
By DOREEN CARVAJAL
Published: May 21, 2012

The lending and borrowing of famous artworks is the essence of cultural exchange between museums in the United States and abroad. So routine is the practice, and so universally valued, that the American government has traditionally protected it with a law that shields a lent work from being seized by anyone with a claim to legal ownership while the art is on display here.

In recent years, though, American museum directors have come to fear that this safeguard has eroded, and that foreign museums, dreading entanglement in costly ownership battles, are more hesitant to make loans. So they have asked Congress to increase the security for global art swaps.
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