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Greece won’t sue

Elgin Marbles east pediment. Wikimedia Commons.

Benjamin Sutton, Greece Won’t Sue to Get the Elgin Marbles Back, 14 May 2015

The Greek government has decided not to go to court to demand restitution of the Elgin Marbles, which the country has been trying to get back from the British Museum for three decades.

Earlier this year the museum’s director, Richard Lambert, formally rejected UNESCO’s offer to mediate restitution talks, and this month a report prepared by a legal team that included Alma Clooney and British Queen’s Council Geoffrey Robertson suggested that if Greece took its case to the International Court of Justice in the Hague or the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, it would have a 75 to 80% chance of success.

“Both the UK and Greece respect the decisions of the International Court of Justice,” the legal report states. “It is also believed that the International Court of Justice could request aid from the UNESCO General Assembly, which in recent months has shown its support towards Greece’s claim … The legal team claim that the Parthenon sculptures are irrefutably a prime example of Greek identity and a big part of Greek history and culture.”

However, BBC News reports that Nikos Xydakis, Greece’s culture minister, told Mega TV “one cannot [just] go to court over whatever issue,” and that the country will use “diplomatic and political” channels to get the marbles back.

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