Greek lawyers recently announced that they would be setting up a Committee for the Return of the Parthenon Marbles with the aim to offer professional legal support in Greece’s efforts to bring the illegally removed sculptures back to Athens.
The Greek Bar Associations’ decision foresees the creation of a committee manned with experts from 58 bodies and institutions across the country, including universities, NGOs, and cultural organizations.
Actions to be taken based on the guidance of the multi-member committee will be coordinated and supervised by an executive board, which will also be responsible for implementation of decisions.
A second body of specialized lawyers and advisors will provide legal support in Greece’s claim.
Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos praised the initiative during his visit to the Thessaloniki Bar Association last week, expressing his support.
Pavlopoulos underlined that the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens is not only of significant importance for Greece, but for the whole of European civilization.
Pavlopoulos noted that it was not a legal issue per se: “It would be erroneous to treat it as a legal matter of exchange of arguments, and thus fall into the trap of the British Museum. It is primarily an ethical and cultural issue, a matter of cultural ethics, respect for the basic principles and values of culture itself,” Pavlopoulos said, calling on all stakeholders involved to work together to preserve the “validity of justice”.
Last year, in a statement UNESCO said it recognized the historical, cultural, legal and ethical dimensions of the issue of the return of the Marbles to the Parthenon, which is a World Heritage Site and as such of universal significance.
In the meantime, Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said in September that Greece would be officially requesting the temporary return of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens, for the bicentennial celebrations commemorating the 1821 Greek War of Independence set for 2021.