Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Greece drops legal action plans for Parthenon Marbles.

Helena Smith ' Greece drops option of legal action in British Museum Parthenon marbles row Guardian, Wednesday 13 May 2015.
The new Greek cultural minister Nikos Xydakis said the route to retrieving the treasures lay in diplomatic and political channels and not international courts where outcomes were far from assured. [...]  What was needed, he insisted, was “low-key persistent work” as the climate was gradually changing.
Indeed it is. The days of cultural property philistinism are numbered. 
The minister was speaking barely 48 hours after receiving a 150-page dossier from Amal Clooney and fellow leading human rights lawyers at London’s Doughty Street chambers exhorting the Greek government to pursue legal channels immediately. The report, outlining the options Athens faced in its decades-long struggle to win back the fifth century BC carvings, described a “now or never” opportunity for Greece and advised it to take the British Museum to the international court of justice. “The British adhere to international law,” said Clooney who co-authored the report with Geoffrey Robertson and Norman Palmer, British QCs regarded as pre-eminent experts in cultural restitution. “The Greek government has never taken advantage of this Achilles heel. You must take legal action now or you may lose the opportunity to do so due to future legal obstacles.”
I think it is a wise move not to take the lawyers up on it. It is difficult to see what legal arguments would stick. If they lose the case the Marbles stay. We do not need a legal judgement to say the Marbles should be returned. The moral case is clear. Crystal clear.

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