The time has come for the Greek government to decide whether it wants to take legal action for the return of the Parthenon Marbles, currently held by the British Museum, according to a confidential legal memo the three lawyers representing Greece, sent the culture ministry, as revealed in Greek daily Kathimerini over the weekend.
The three London-based lawyers — Amal Alamuddin, Geoffrey Robertson and Norman Palmer — sent a 10-page memo identifying the three basic considerations before the Greek government takes action: what court of law should address the issue, at what cost and the chances of success.
The legal team discussed these issues while visiting Athens last October. The memo also lists five different approaches, these include, recourse to a court in Greece, Britain, the US, the International Court of Justice or the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each. Of these, legal action in the US has been rejected.
The prominent team of lawyers is initially aiming to have the Greek authorities notify the British government and the British Museum with a version of the legal study along with a letter to the Prime Minister for the return of the Parthenon Marbles. Should they refuse, they will officially launch a legal claim.
For over three decades, Greece has repeatedly called on the British Museum to return the 2,500-year-old marble sculptures that once adorned the Parthenon and have been the subject of dispute since they were illegally removed and taken out of the country by the Earl of Elgin in 1803, later to be housed in the British Museum.