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The Parthenon Marbles and Greek Cultural Heritage Law

6 January 2022 | Katerina Ampela

When in 447 B.C.E. the Athenians decided to rebuild the Parthenon, the temple of Athena on the Acropolis, as an embodiment of confidence and pride, they could not have imagined the symbolic values the Parthenon would represent in the future. The construction of the Parthenon, supervised by the architects Ictinus and Kallikrates and the master sculptor Phidias, was completed in 432 B.C.E., and the sculptures were not mere decoration but an integral part of the building (i). Nowadays, more than half blocks from the frieze, a third of the panels from the metopes, and 19 sculptures from the pediments are exhibited in the British Museum (ii). The case over the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures recently reignited in November 2021 when UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson responded to the Greek Prime Minister’s calls for their return, reiterating that it is not a governmental issue but one for the British Museum to attend to, as the legitimate owners of the marbles (iii). But the Museum’s refusal to start discussions with the Greek government fuels the over 200-year-old restitution debate. The removal of the Parthenon Marbles from Athens, their transfer to London, and the corresponding national and international legal issues will be presently examined.

Between 1801 and 1803, while Greece was under Ottoman occupation, Lord Elgin, the British ambassador to Constantinople, removed great portions of the frieze, metopes, and pediments from the Parthenon and shipped them to England. A few years later, in 1816, the British Parliament, on the recommendation of the House of Commons Select Committee, acquired the marbles on behalf of the British Museum for just £35,000, approximately £1 million in today’s currency. (iv).  


The debate over the return of the Parthenon marbles started soon after Greece gained its independence, with Lord Byron being the first to criticize Elgin’s actions and the president of the Greek Archaeology Society calling for the return of the marbles at the Society’s first meeting (v). During World War II the House of Commons considered returning the marbles to Greece as a gift to Britain’s ally but the proposal was rejected as premature (vi). Immediately after the restoration of democracy in Greece in 1974 the country submitted a proposal to the United Nations for the repatriation of the sculptures (vii). Subsequently, during the 1980s the Government of the Hellenic Republic, along with the then Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri, brought the subject to international attention by promoting it in several international fora, including UNESCO, where the issue was first raised in 1982 with a great response (viii). The following year the first official request for the return of the Marbles was submitted to the Government of the United Kingdom through diplomatic channels, but the response a year later was negative (ix). In 1984 a second Greek request was made through the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation (ICPRCP) which was rejected as well (x). In 1998 the European Parliament supported their return through a written declaration, and in 1999 UNESCO called on Greece and Great Britain to start bilateral discussions on the matter (xi). The new Acropolis Museum, which opened in 2009, designed to display all the surviving sculptures in their original layout, raised hopes for the opening of a political dialogue between the two countries, but the negativity from the British side was apparent (xii).

In 2013 the Greek Government asked the General Director of UNESCO, Mrs. Irina Bokova, to initiate the mediation process with Britain, based on the agreed 2010 UNESCO Rules on Mediation and Conciliation (xiii). But the British side did not respond for over a year, and in 2014 during its Nineteenth Session at the UNESCO Headquarters ICPRCP issued the RECOMMENDATION 19.COM 8, inviting both parties to start discussions with the aim of reaching a mutual solution to the issue (xiv). Meanwhile, ICOMOS passed the resolution 18GA 2014/40 in support of the mediation request (xv). In 2015 the British Museum, on behalf of themselves and the British government, published its negative response, claiming that “mediation would not carry this debate substantially forward” and that the more constructive way forward is to collaborate directly with other museums and cultural institutions, not just in Greece but across the world” (xvi). In its response Greece insisted that the dispute was between nations, not museums, and the Greek government will continue its efforts towards the resolution of the matter (xvii).

The first- ever legal claim for the return of the Parthenon Marbles was brought to the European Court of Human Rights by Syllogos Ton Athinaion (or ‘Athenians’ Association’) against the United Kingdom (xviii). The Court ruled that because the alleged theft of the sculptures took place more than 150 years before the UK signed up to the human rights convention, it did not have the power to consider the lawsuit and in 2016 rejected the claim on admissibility grounds (xix). On September of 2021 at the 22nd session of UNESCO ICPRCP, UNESCO issued a recommendation calling on the British Museum to reconsider repatriating the Parthenon Marbles to Greece and to enter into discussions on the issue (xx). However, the British Museum remained in its ongoing position, rejecting any such talk (xxi). In mid-November of 2021, the Greek Prime Minister met with his UK counterpart in London and raised the issue of the return of the sculptures, reiterating an offer he made in 2019 to loan artworks to the British Museum in exchange for the marbles (xxii). But the British Prime Minister supported the UK's longstanding position that this matter is one for the trustees of the British Museum, rejecting any responsibility of the British government.


The case on the return of the Parthenon Marbles is a complicated one, with arguments for and against, and a series of questions of law that should be answered. If you add to the equation the passage of time, the lack of evidence, the problem of time limitations, and the moral implications of such a case, the problems only compound.

Before discussing the merits of the case, we should first examine the applicable law and the issues that have arisen. Depending on the defendant, which can be the Trustees of the British Museum or Britain, the case can be either a private law or a public international law case, respectively. Starting with the latter, both the United Kingdom and Greece are States entitled to appear before the International Court of Justice. Article 93(1) of the Charter of the United Nations provides that all Members of the United Nations, like Greece and the UK, are ipso facto parties to the Statute and article 36(2) of the Statute of the Court provides that the state parties may at any time declare that they recognize as compulsory the jurisdiction of the Court in all legal disputes concerning any question of international law (xxiii). Therefore, the Court will refer to international treaties and conventions in force, international custom, the general principles of law and judicial decisions. Relevant Conventions to this area are the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects.

The 1954 Hague Convention, the first ever international treaty exclusively referring to the protection of cultural property, recognizes as illegal any form of theft, pillage, or misappropriation of, and any acts of vandalism directed against the countries’ cultural property by the occupier in times of war (xxiv). Transport of cultural property from its country of origin can take place only under special protection and in accordance with specified conditions (xxv). Therefore, any removal or transfer of cultural property by the Ottomans at any stage is illegal. Of particular significance to this agreement are its two protocols, one from 1954, and another added in 1999. Both insist on the obligation of the occupying powers to protect the cultural property of the land they control, in contrast to what the Ottomans did with Parthenon (xxvi).

In addition, the 1970 UNESCO Convention in Article 7(b)(1) provides that State Parties shall "prohibit the import of cultural property stolen from a museum or a religious or secular public monument or similar institution" and in Article 3 that " the import, export or transfer of ownership of cultural property effected contrary to the provisions adopted under this Convention by the States Parties thereto, shall be illicit" (xxvii). What can be observed is that both Conventions define cultural heritage as "untradeable" objects, res extra commercium”, as called in the Roman law (xxviii).

Lastly, the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention, attempting to deal with the problems and ambiguities of the 1970 UNESCO Convention, in Article 3 provides that a cultural object stolen from its country of origin shall be returned (xxix). Therefore, any act of disposal of cultural objects from their country of origin is prohibited, and if that has occurred, restitution should be unequivocal. The essential problem of all three Conventions is that their protection is extremely limited due to a lack of retroactivity provisions. As result they cannot be enforced for removals of cultural objects before their enter into force, such as the Parthenon Marbles case.

However, Lord Elgin was acting in his private capacity who ordered the removal of the Marbles and the British Government acquired them at a later stage. That is why, at this point, we should examine the private law uses. To start with, it should be determined in which countries’ court the private suit would be brought and which substantive law will apply. A lawsuit could be brought either in Britain or in Greece. According to the 1968 Brussels Convention on jurisdiction in civil matters, such as the return of the Parthenon Marbles, persons domiciled in a Contracting State shall be sued in the courts of that State (xxx). In the case under consideration these are the London courts. Special jurisdiction is provided by Article 5(3) of the Convention in matters relating to tort, according to which the lawsuit can be brought either in the place where the act took place or in the place where the damage occurs, which are the Greek courts (xxxi). However, the use of this article is doubtful if can be argued that it can be used only when the suit is brought against the tortfeasor, which is not here the case.

So, the best solution in terms of jurisdiction seems to be the English courts (xxxii). Under English law the British Museum is a public corporation and independent from the British government. The British Museum Act of 1963 strictly limits the circumstances under which the Trustees of the British Museum can dispose any object vested in them and comprised in their collection (xxxiii). Therefore, it is illegal for the museum to have the Marbles returned, unless a primary legislation passed that allowed the museum to return the Marbles. But even with the passage of a permissive legislation, problems arise without the permission of the legal owner, who is the British Museum. As a result, an additional primary legislation, should dominate the government, to deprive the British Museum its legitimate estates. Such legislation is against Article 1 of the First Protocol in the European Convention on Human Rights, unless the attachment had been for the public interest and unless compensation was provided (xxxiv). Because such a cost would be unacceptable for the Government of United Kingdom, Article 1 of the First Protocol in the European Convention on Human Rights is an impediment to the passage of such legislation, that would force the Trustees to return the Marbles (xxxv).

When in 2015 the Greek Government asked the legal advice of Amal Clooney, a human rights lawyer, and Geoffrey Robertson and Norman Palmer, specialists in cultural restitution, on the return of the Parthenon Marbles, they found the best solution would be to bring the UK before the European Court of Human Rights (xxxvi). A court proceeding could also prompt Britain to agree to arbitration or mediation. However, UK's exit from the European Union means two important changes must be noted. Though the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights exist separately from the European Union, the UK courts, including the Supreme Court, are not bound by decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union made after December 2020 and the UK courts, including the Supreme Court, may have regard to the ECHR decisions if relevant, but they are not generally obliged to follow them. This means that Greece’s options to claim the return of the Marbles through litigation are limited.

Moving on to the substance of the case, the first thing that should be examined is the legitimacy of the acquisition of the Parthenon Marbles and consequently the validity of the title of the British Museum. Before the British Government purchased the Parthenon Sculptures from Lord Elgin, the matter of the legality of the acquisition was brought to discussion in the Parliament, which decided in full knowledge of the facts (xxxvii). According to the common law principle of nemo plus juris ad alium transferre potest quam ipse habet, the right of the Crown to the Marbles was not better than Elgin’s right to them. This means that if Elgin had good title over the Marbles, he could transfer ownership to the Crown. In contrast if he had a defective title, such title transferred to the Crown (xxxviii). To determine how good Elgin’s title was, we should examine whether the Ottomans, which at that time ruled Greece, authorized Elgin to remove the marbles, whether they had the authority to transfer property rights to Elgin and finally whether Elgin exceeded the authority given to him.

In July 1801 Elgin, using his position of British ambassador to Constantinople, managed to obtain a Turkish document, the so-called firman, addressed to the local authorities in Athens (xxxix). According to the Oxford English Dictionary a firman (firmaun, fermaun) was an edict/order/decree/permit/letter from the Ottoman Government addressed to one of its officials ordering/suggesting/requesting that a favour to be conferred on a person (xl). The original document, written in Turkish, has been lost and the only evidence, that survives today is an Italian translation (xli). What needs to be examined first is whether this document was in reality a firman. According to the Ottoman diplomacy of the time, a firman was edict of the Ottoman Sultan headed by his cipher and composed in the usual form of a firman (xlii). The Sultan’s seal (tughra) and the use of characteristic expressions differentiates a firman from other documents (None of the aforementioned details can be found in the document, under which Elgin removed the Marbles (xliii). On the contrary, since the sender is mentioned at the left bottom of the document where his cipher is also placed, it is a simple letter with no legal effect (xliv).

But even if we suppose that the document was an official firman, we should look into the actual text. According to the surviving document Elgin took permission to enter freely within the walls of the Citadel, to draw and model with plaster the Ancient Temples there, to erect scaffolding and to dig where they may wish to discover the ancient foundations, and liberty to take away any sculptures or inscriptions which do not interfere with the works or walls of the Citadel (xlv). The document does not give any permission for the transfer of property, as the permission to “tak[e] away any pieces of stone” does not indicate that there is anything more than permission to carry out archaeological work (xlvi). In the light of the above, it is clear that the firman did not transfer any property rights to Elgin and he did not acquire the title in the Marbles. This means that neither the British Museum legitimately acquired good title to the Parthenon Marbles. It has been argued that although the removals exceeded the authority granted in the firman, Elgin’s acts were later ratified by subsequent documents and actions by the Ottoman authorities, to such a degree that his activity was considered legal (xlvii). But again, no written documents or other evidence can prove such events and no copy of any reference of such documents was found in the Ottoman archives (xlviii).  

There is a big discussion on whether any claim for the return of the Marbles would now be barred by statute. At this point the Greek and English law seem to agree. Article 1034 and 1036 (1) of the Greek civil law provide that the purchaser does not become the owner when he purchases from a non-owner, unless he acts in good faith (xlix). In addition, section 4 of the Limitation Act 1980 provides that the right of any person from whom a chattel is stolen to bring an action in respect of the theft shall not be subject to the usual time limits under sections 2 and 3(1) of this Act (l). When the case of the acquisition of the Marbles was brought before the British Parliament it did not insist on seeing the original document to assess the legality of Elgin’s possession, which had already been lost, but reached a decision based on the Italian translation (li). So, the British Government purchased the sculptures in full knowledge both of Elgin’s inability to base the removal of the Marbles in sufficient documentary proof and of the actual text of the document. As it emerges from the above, such purchase cannot be considered as good faith acquisition, since it is not a purchase beyond any reasonable doubt (lii). Therefore, in the absence of good faith, no time limitations apply.

The debate over the Parthenon Marbles raises not only legal but also moral, ethical, and historical considerations related to the retention or return of the sculptures. Some of the arguments of the British side are that Lord Elgin, by moving the sculptures with safety in Britain, preserved them from attacks and air-pollution; they are more accessible than if they were in Athens and they can be seen in the context of other world cultures; they are now part of the British patrimony as well and returning them would set a bad precedent that could result in the emptying of the biggest museums. The Greek side argues that the Parthenon is a principal symbol of the cultural identity of the Greek people and a vital aspect of their history; the sculptures are an integral part of the Parthenon and only forming a unity, seen into their original social environment, can be understood. The argument of integrity is a strong one, if someone considers that the head of a statue is in the British Museum and its torso in Athens (liii). Finally, after the opening of the new Acropolis Museum which includes a space for all the surviving sculptures to be displayed in their original order, Greece is more than ready to protect its cultural heritage (liv).


At a national level, the first-ever national legislation on antiquities was enacted in 1834 and provided that “all antiquities within Greece, as works of the ancestors of the Hellenic people, shall be regarded as national property of all Hellenes in general” (lv). A right of ownership was recognised to individuals under certain conditions and a set of obligations was introduced to stop the illegal export of archaeological material from Greece without the permission of the government (lvi). The 1834 legislation was replaced in 1899 by the Law No. 2646, which established an exclusive right of ownership to the State over all antiquities, declaring the State as the owner of all cultural property found anywhere in Greece (lvii). This provision was included in the Codified Law No. 5351/ 1932, which was most recently replaced by the current national legislation, Greek Law No. 3028/2002, “for the preservation of Antiquities and the Cultural Heritage in general” (lviii). The Greek legislation also includes a number of urban planning laws and regulations governing building activity near archaeological sites, such as the General Building Regulation (Law 2508/1997), the New Building Regulation (Law 4067/2012 2012) and the Control and Protection of Built Environment and other provisions (Law 4495/2017) (lix). These come under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Environment and Energy. However, all private and public works must comply with the Archaeological law, Law No. 3028/2002 (lx).


Law No. 3028 /2002 on the Protection of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage in General aims at “the protection of cultural heritage of the country from ancient up to the present time,” referring to “the cultural objects found within the boundaries of Greek territory, including territorial waters and other maritime zones.” (lxi) The law also protects the cultural objects “originating from the Greek territory, whenever they may have been removed from it.” (lxii).


Law No. 3028 /2002 specifically designates what is protected as cultural heritage. According to Article 3, the preservation of cultural heritage refers to: a) the location, research, registration, documentation and study of its elements, b) the preservation and prevention of its destruction, alteration and any direct or indirect damage on it, c) the prevention of illegal excavation, theft and illegal export, d) the maintenance and restoration, wherever this is necessary, e) the facilitation of access and contact with the cultural heritage for the public, f) the promotion and integration of the cultural heritage into the contemporary social life, and g) the education, and also the aesthetic training and awareness of the citizens on the cultural heritage (lxiii).

The law declares the State as the owner of the country’s ancient immovable and movable monuments dating up to 1453, providing that the monuments “belong to the State in terms of ownership and possession, are extra commercium and imprescriptible.” (lxiv). The same applies to the immovable and movable antiquities that are revealed during excavations or other archaeological research, regardless of their dating. Regarding the monuments dating after 1453, the right of ownership “shall be exercised in accordance with the terms and conditions of the present law” (lxv). The Law No. 3028 /2002 in conjunction with the Greek Constitution provide that heritage protection is state-centric. According to Article 24(1) of the Constitution “the protection of the natural and cultural environment is an obligation and right of every citizen” (lxvi) and “the monuments, the traditional areas and the traditional elements are protected by the State.” The State has an active role in the preservation of the cultural heritage, not only by designating which cultural objects should be protected, but also through a classification process (lxvii).

The Law No. 3028 /2002 in Chapter Nine outlines civil and criminal penalties for violations, such as theft or embezzlement of monuments, receiving and disposing of monuments constituting products of crime, damage to a monument, breach of the duty to declare a monument, illegal transfer and illegal excavation, illegal export and import of cultural objects as well as illegal non-return of cultural objects (lxviii). The main enforcement procedure indicated by the law is that of criminal penalties. For the more serious violations the law indicates punishment by a temporary term not exceeding 10 years and imprisonment of not less than two years for the rest. In case someone fails to declare a monument, as it is outlined in Article 8, the law imposes a pecuniary penalty not exceeding 50.000 euros (lxix). The law provides for the forfeiture of illegally exported and illegally excavated cultural objects. In case the forfeiture cannot be imposed, a pecuniary penalty shall be imposed (lxx).


The Law No. 3028/2002 gives a detailed definition of the cultural objects to which it applies, starting by setting a territorial criterion for their inclusion to the countries’ cultural heritage. The law covers cultural assets located within the borders of the Greek territory, including the territorial waters, as well as cultural objects originating from the Greek territory or those that are historically linked to Greece, regardless of their location. Also, intangible cultural heritage is included.

For the protection of monuments, the chronological criteria on determining their basic typology and the extent of their protection were set even from the previous law. The definition of ancient monuments or antiquities covers those dating back to prehistoric times up to 1830, but the law provides increased protection to monuments dating up to 1453. More specifically, all immovable cultural objects that date from up to 1830, all movables that date from up to 1453, and movables of the period 1454–1830 that are finds from excavations or other archaeological research or have been detached from immovable monuments, or consist of religious icons or liturgical objects are directly protected under the law (lxxi). For other cultural objects to be protected under the law need to be classified as monuments by a decision of the Minister of Culture and published in the Official Gazette (lxxii). The protective framework of the law applies to the modern monuments as well, that are classified as such due to their architectural, urban, social, ethnological, folk, technical, industrial, or generally historical, artistic, or scientific significance (lxxiii).


The administration of cultural heritage, and in particular of antiquities, is centralised under the State. The Archaeological Service is responsible for all matters concerning archaeological heritage, such as granting permission for the use of an archaeological site belonging to the state (lxxiv). Usually, depending on the request and the type of the monument, such issues are dealt by the local Ephorates of Antiquities, the regional services of the Ministry of Culture. (lxxv). According to the law, the purpose of the Ephorate is to protect and display the antiquities which are found within its area of competence (lxxvi). However, when an issue is deemed too important to be dealt in a local level is forwarded to the central services, the General Directorates (lxxvii). The responsible General Directorate brings the matter for discussion to the Central Archaeological Council, a significant policy-shaping and decision-making board. The Council will issue a non-binding advise on the matter, which will forward it to the Minister of Culture, and he/she will take the final decision. It is worth mentioning that the close connection between the State and cultural heritage is apparent from the legal status of the museums. The archaeological and Byzantine museums in Greece are incorporated into the legal person of the state, forming part of the local Ephorates of Antiquities. The museums of other kind are state-run and only a few are their own legal personality.


The Greek law “On the Protection of Antiquities and the Cultural Heritage in General” is a significant piece of legislation that develops a comprehensive and detailed system for the protection of the countries’ cultural heritage. The new law, covering the gaps from the previous one, includes provisions concerning new technological methods recently employed in the science of archaeology. The law protects whatever can be considered a cultural good, from antiquity to the present, the movable and immovable monuments and even the intangible heritage. Also, the law regulates all the possible cases of illicit activities related to antiquities. State ownership over all antiquities makes the Greek State able to claim, as the owner, the return of any cultural object illegally exported. However, over the years and especially during the economic crisis an increased number of cases of theft and smuggling was recorded, questioning the efficiency of the Greek cultural heritage law in combating the illicit trafficking of cultural objects. The main problems are the light penalties, that the law provides contrary to other criminal acts, the court delays, and the long duration of judicial proceedings.


Through the years several amendments to articles of the Greek law No. 3028/2002 were made. Article 46 of the Law was amended by Article 27 of Law No. 4447/2016, according to which the responsibility for granting permission for the use of an archaeological site belonging to the state lies on the Archaeological Service (lxxviii). Also, Law No. 4447/2016 set two basic requirements for the state to grant permission for using an archeological site (lxxix). The first is the protection of the site from potential physical damage, which could result from its use and second is that its use should be compatible with the character of the site. Additionally, Article 66 was amended by Article 10 of Law No. 3658/2008, which mainly deals with the fight of illicit trafficking in cultural objects (lxxx). The last amendment was made on November 2021 with the publication of the Law No.4858/2021 on the protection of antiquates (lxxxi).


Greece has a long history in cases of returns and restitutions of cultural objects, that usually are resolved through the channels of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). One such case is the Gold Wreath case, which is about the illegal journey of a gold blossom myrtle wreath from Northern Greece, dated towards the end of the fourth century B.C.E. (350-300 B.C.E.). The wreath was seized during the illegal excavation of a tomb in Macedonia before 1990s and after occasional appearances in the illegal market was purchased in 1993 by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles for $ 1,15 million (lxxxii). The Greek state expressed its disagreement to the acquisition from the beginning, claiming that such artefact could not have been exported legally. The Greek Ministry of Culture initially asked the return of the wreath through diplomatic channels but with no success. After a while a letter was sent, inviting the J.P. Getty Museum to enter into negotiations for the return of the wreath, otherwise the ministry’s intention was to pursue the matter in the courts. After a year of negotiations, the museum agreed to return the wreath to the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki along with another illegally exported antiquity, a 6th century BC marble “kori” statue of a woman (lxxxiii).


Unlike other forms of property, cultural property is particular due to the related sensitivities and values. The debate over the Parthenon Sculptures poses simultaneously related issues of ownership rights and notions of value, cultural identity, and national patrimony. But the nature of the law makes it difficult to consider these aspects flexibly and to find the best possible solution. The law fails to examine the importance of reuniting the sculptures to their social environment, or how the harmony, balance, and historical, cultural, and aesthetic integrity of the Acropolis is affected. In addition, legal issues such as time limitations, lack of evidence, and differences between national laws confuse the situation even more. That is why focus should be given to the establishment of a cooperative framework between the two parties starting by initiating a fruitful dialogue, that in the long term will result in a mutually acceptable solution. Past examples like the Gold Wreath case and many others have shown that solutions can be found only when both parties are willing to find one.


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xxiv.UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, 249 UNTS 240 (May 14, 1954), art. 15 https://en.unesco.org/protecting-heritage/convention-and-protocols/1954-convention.
xxv. UNESCOHague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (May 14, 1954), art. 12.
xxvi.UNESCO, (First) Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict 249 UNTS 358 (May 14, 1954), Chapter I https://en.unesco.org/protecting-heritage/convention-and-protocols/first-protocol, Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (March 26, 1999), art. 9 https://atom.archives.unesco.org/second-protocol-to-hague-convention-of-1954-for-protection-of-cultural-property-in-event-of-armed-conflict-24.
xxvii.UNESCO, Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, 823 UNTS 231 (Nov. 14, 1970)  https://en.unesco.org/fighttrafficking/1970.
xxviii.Irini A. Stamatoudi, Legal Grounds for the Return of the Parthenon Marbles, Revue Hellénique de droit International 2, 513 (2002).
xxix.UNIDROIT, Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects, 34 ILM 1322 (June 24, 1995) https://www.unidroit.org/instruments/cultural-property/1995-convention/.
xxx. 1968 Brussels Convention on jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial mattersOJ L 299 (Sept. 27, 1968), art. 2, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX%3A41968A0927%2801%29
xxxi.1968 Brussels Convention, art. 5(3)
xxxii.Stamatoudi, supra note xxvii. 
xxxiii.British Museum Act 1963, c.24 (Jul. 10, 1963) https://www.britishmuseum.org/sites/default/files/2019-10/British-Museum-Act-1963.pdf.
xxxiv.Council Of Europe, Protocol 1 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, ETS 9 (Mar. 20, 1952), art. 1 https://www.echr.coe.int/documents/convention_eng.pdf.
xxxv.Alexandra Pistofidou, Acropolis: The Repatriation of the Parthenon Sculptures and the History of Their Claim, Diss. Verlag nicht ermittelbar (2013).
xxxvi.Jo Angouri, Marina Paraskevaidi & Ruth Wodak, Discourses of cultural heritage in times of crisis: The case of the Parthenon Marbles, 21 J. of Sociolinguistics, 208-237 (2017).
xxxvii.Irini A Stamatoudi, The Law and Ethics Deriving from the Parthenon Marbles Case, 2 Web JCLI (1997), https://www.greece-athens.com/parthenon/marbles/legal.htm.
xxxviii. John Henry Merryman, Thinking about the Elgin marbles, Michigan Law Review, 1881-1923 (1985).
xxxix.Emanuel J. Comino, The case for the return of the Parthenon Marbles, Greek Research in Australia: Proceedings of the Biennial International Conference of Greek Studies, Flinders University June 2007, Flinders University Department of Languages - Modern Greek: Adelaide, 825-834 (In E. Close et al. eds. 2009), https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=
xl.Merryman, supra note xxxviii.
xli.Moira Simpson, Museums, World Heritage, and Interpretation; the Case of the Parthenon Marbles, Flinders University Department of Languages-Modern Greek (2005).
xlii.Vassilis Dimitriades, Η νομιμότητα της αφαίρεσης των Γλυπτών από τον Παρθενώνα, Parthenon: the repatriation of the sculptures: historical, cultural and legal aspects, Center of European Studies & Humanities "Ioannis Capodistrias", (2004).
xlv.David Rudenstine, Lord Elgin and the Ottomans: the question of permission, 23 Cardozo L. Rev., 449 (2001), https://larc.cardozo.yu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1166&context=faculty-articles .
xlvi.Stamatoudi, supra note xxviii.
xlvii.Merryman, supra note xxxviii.
xlviii.David Rudenstine, Did Elgin cheat at marbles?, 270 Nation, 30-34 (2000).
xlix.Presidential Decree 456/1984, the Greek Civil Code, GRC-1984-L-87906 (Oct. 24, 1984)
l.Limitation Act 1980, c. 58 (1980).
li.Rudenstine, supra note xlviii.
lii.Stamatoudi, supra note xxxvii.
liii.Elena Korka, Rosa Tsakona, and Alkistis Choremi, “The head misses its body, the horse’s flanks need their legs and hooves, Goddess Athena’s head calls for its torso, dismembered riders, sacrificial animals, votive bearers and Olympian Gods break the flow of the Panathenaic Procession” (2003).
liv.Eleni Gage, New Acropolis Museum ready for Marbles, CNN News (Oct. 29, 2008) http://edition.cnn.com/2008/TRAVEL/getaways/10/28/acropolis.museum/.
lv.Law of 10/22 May 1834, On scientific and technological collections, on the discovery and conservation of antiquities and the use thereof, Government Gazette 22 (1834).
lvi.Daphne Voudouri, Law and the politics of the past: legal protection of cultural heritage in Greece, International Journal of Cultural Property 17.3, 547-568 (2010).
lvii.Law No. 2646/1899, On antiquities, Government Gazette A 158 (1899).
lviii.Law No. 3028/2002, On the protection of antiquities and cultural heritage in general, Government Gazette A153 (Jun. 28, 2002).
lix.Law No. 2508/1997, On the Sustainable Urban Development of the Cities and Settlements of the Country and Other Provisions, Government Gazette A 124 (Jun 13, 1997). Law No. 4067/2012,  New Building Regulation, Government Gazette A 79 (April 9, 2012). Law No. 4495/2017, On the Control and Protection of Built Environment and other provisions, Government Gazette A 167 (Non. 3, 2017).
lx.National Policy Report, On Cultural Heritage (Oct. 21, 2014) https://www.coe.int/en/web/herein-system/greece.
lxi.Law No. 3028/2002 on the protection of antiquities and cultural heritage in general, art.1(2).
lxii.Law No. 3028/2002, art. 1(3).
lxiii.Law No. 3028/2002, art. 3.
lxiv.Law No. 3028/2002, art. 7 & art. 21.
lxv.Law No. 3028/2002, art. 7(3) & art 21 (3).
lxvi.The Constitution of Greece, Government Gazette Α 211 (Dec. 24, 2019), art. 24 (1).
lxvii.Voudouri, supra note lvi.
lxviii.Law No. 3028/2002, art. 53-art. 64.
lxix.Law No. 3028/2002, art.58.
lxx.Law No. 3028/2002, art.69.
lxxi.Law No. 3028/2002, art 7 & art. 20.
lxxii.Law No. 3028/2002, art. 20.
lxxiii.Law No. 3028/2002, art. 3, art. 6 & art. 20.
lxxiv.Law No. 3028/2002, art. 46 as amended by art. 27 of Law No. 4447/2016 (Government Gazette A 241/2016).
lxxv.Ministerial Decree of 2018, On the transfer of jurisdictions of the Minister of Culture and Sports to the Directors of the Regional and Special Regional Services in the jurisdiction of the General Directorate of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage and the Directors of the Regional Services in the jurisdiction of the General Directorate of Restoration, Museums and Technical Works of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, Government Gazette B 1255/2018.
lxxvi.Law No. 3028/2002, art. 46.
lxxvii.Anthony Makrydemetres, Panagiotis Zervopoulos, and Maria-Eliana Pravita, Reform of Public Administration in Greece; Evaluating Structural Reform of Central Government Departments in Greece: Application of the DEA Methodology, Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe, GreeSE Paper 97 (2016).
lxxviii.Law No 4447/2016, On Spatial Planning-Sustainable development and other provisions, Government Gazette A 241 (Dec. 23, 2016).
lxxix.Law No 4447/2016, art.27.
lxxx.Law No. 3658/2008, On Measures for the Protection of Cultural Goods, Government Gazette A 70 (April 22, 2008).
lxxxi.No.4858/2021, Government Gazette A 220 (Nov. 19, 2021).

lxxxii.Hugh Eakin and Anthee Carassava, Getty is expected to return Gold Wreath to Greece, The New York Times (Dec. 11, 2006) https://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/11/arts/design/11artifactscnd.html.

lxxxiii.Stamatoudi, supra note xiii.  
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