LITIGATION OF PARTHENON MARBLES DISCUSSED AT THE HISTORIC GLOBAL COLLOQUY, 19 JUNE 2012

 

(London, UK, Tuesday, June 19, 2012)  – In a historic unified effort, three campaigning organizations for the Parthenon Marbles from the UK, USA and Australia convened in London for an international colloquy on “The Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles”.  The event showcased presentations from a number of speakers on the viability of  litigation.

 

The colloquy, held at the London Hellenic Centre from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m aims to promote an open dialogue and garner a unified international coalition of supporters. It is co-organized and presented by The British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM), The American Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, Inc. (ACRPS), and The International Organizing Committee – Australia – for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles Inc. (IOC-A-RPM).

 On Wednesday, 20 June, a planned organized attendance outside the British Museum will serve to launch an unprecedented global awareness campaign, “MISSING” – an initiative created by ACRPS. The creative will run online with an extendable multi-format platform to unite supporters with a unified message and mobilize support for the cause.

 Among the topics of discussion presented by distinguished speakers at the colloquy includes that of litigation. Since the opening of the new Acropolis Museum in 2009, supporters believe the last real argument against the return of the Parthenon Marbles is no longer valid. A case for litigation could serve as a leading precedent.

World-renowned human rights advocate, George Bizos SC made the point that the modern Greek state is the successor in title to the territoryof Greece that was under control of the Ottoman Empireat the turn of the 19th Century and where the marbles were located prior to their removal by Lord Elgin. Greece believes that it is legally entitled to the return of the Parthenon Marbles.  Furthermore, it has a clear interest in its cultural heritage, as is reflected in Law 30228 on the Protection of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage in General.  In particular that law makes clear that Greece has a duty, to itself and to its citizens, “to care, within the context of international law, for the protection of cultural objects, which are connected historically withGreece wherever they are located.”

For Attorney Michael J. Reppas, II, President and Legal Advisor of ACRPS, and one of the leading presenters, the question of litigation is one of the most popular he receives. It has also formed the basis of the bulk of his academic publications and is the core subject of his upcoming book release (indeed, “Why Don’t We Just Sue The British Museum?”) to be published August 2012. All proceeds from book sales will support the mission of ACRPS. “In my opinion, litigation is an essential component of the campaign and should be more than just a threat,” said Michael J. Reppas, II, Esq

Colloquy speaker, Andrew Dismore, Former British MP and Chair, Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, says despite the questionable circumstances in which the Parthenon Sculptures were removed by Lord Elgin and shipped to England over two hundred years ago, the British Museum (and UK government) maintain that the trustees of the British Museum are the legal owners of the Elgin Marbles. 

 “The issue of ownership of the Parthenon Sculptures has vexed politicians, museum curators, campaigners and the public for decades: but does it matter?” said Andrew Dismore. He introduced his own British Museum Act 1963 (Amendment) Bill in 2009 and he draws upon this and his wider experience of legislation related to the return of disputed objects to set out in detail how the British Museum Act 1963 could be amended to remove any legal impediment to the return of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum to Athens.

 The British Museum cites the British Museum Act (1963), section 5 of which in particular imposes strict limitations on its freedom to divest itself of objects in its trust. Given the political will, the British Government could simply amend this Act to relax these limitations.  In absence of this will, there have been attempts by individuals such as British Committee Chair, Eddie O’Hara, (2002) to make this amendment to the law through Private Member's Bills.

The speakers at the Colloquy were recorded and will be made available on the YouTube channel of IOC-A-RPM, http://www.youtube.com/parthenonmarblesAU.

 

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About The British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM) A group of British people who having considered the case for the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles strongly support it and wish to campaign to achieve it. James Cubitt, a distinguished British architect, met with Melina Mercouri and Jules Dassin before he formed the BCRPM to campaign for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to their rightful home in Athens. The Committee was set up in 1983 under the chairmanship of internationally renowned and universally respected Robert Browning, Emeritus Professor of Greek at the University of London. Then inveterate and accomplished, writer Graham Binns took over as Chairman from 1997-2002, followed by erudite Prof. Anthony Snodgrass 2002-2010, Fellow of the British Academy and Professor Emeritus of Classical Archaeology, University of Cambridge. Since  2010, MP Eddie O’Hara has taken on the role. For more information, visit: http://www.parthenonuk.com.

 

About The American Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, Inc. (ACRPS)

Formed by international litigation attorney, Michael J. Reppas II, ACRPS is the leader of the American charge for the repatriation of the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece. Mr. Reppas, a widely cited author and legal scholar, has engaged in a near 15-year grassroots campaign with fellow Board members involving domestic and international lectures to advocate the cause. ACRPS is a duly recognized IRS § 501(C)(3) NOT-FOR-PROFIT organization, whose purpose is to educate the public on a local, state, national and international level on the compelling need to protect, preserve and repatriate looted cultural property to its country of origin – most particularly to effect the return from London to Athens of the Parthenon Sculptures. For more information, on this and ALL SIDES OF THE PARTHENON - A Touring Exhibition, visit http://www.ParthenonSculpturesUSA.org

 

About The International Organizing Committee – Australia – for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles, Inc. (IOC-A-RPM)

Formerly known as the AHEPA (Australia) Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles, the committee was formed in 1981 under the chairmanship of Emanuel John Comino AM. It was the first committee in the world set up for the restitution. The Committee aims to bring pressure to bear on governments and influence public opinion to ensure the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece. For more information, visit http://www.parthenonmarblesaustralia.org.au

 

CONTACT:

UK – Marlen Godwin, For the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles,

01780 481689, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

USA – Eleni Daniels, For The American Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, Inc., m. 1-917-468-2919, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

AUSTRALIA – Dennis Tritaris, For the International Organising Committee – AUSTRALIA – For the

Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles Inc., m. +61 423 825 905, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.