Court says Italy is the rightful owner of bronze statue in the Getty Museum

The Court is a tribunal of the Council of Europe that decides cases where there are accusations of violations of civil or political rights by member states that have agreed to accept its jurisdiction. Thursday’s verdict was handed down by seven judges from various countries.

In its judgment, the court found that there had been no violation by Italy.

“We couldn’t have imagined any other outcome,” said Lorenzo D’Ascia, an Italian government lawyer involved in the case. He pointed out that the European Court of Justice recognized that there is international agreement on the need to protect cultural artefacts from plunder. The ruling also recognized the legitimacy of confiscating illegally obtained works and returning them to their countries of origin. “This is an important judgment,” he said.

The relationship between the Getty newspaper and Italian cultural officials has long been fraught.

Getty Museum curator Marion True, who helped build one of the nation’s most ancient art collections with another curator, Jiri Frell, was on trial in Rome in 2005 after receiving stolen artifacts from Italy. , was charged with conspiracy. Treat them. The case against True ended abruptly in 2010 after a court ruled that the statute of limitations on her alleged crimes had expired.

While the case was in court, Italy began negotiations with the Getty newspaper for the return of some of the works it had identified as stolen. The talks were contentious and stalled at one point because of the statue.

The first agreement with the museum was reached in September 2007, with Getty agreeing to return 40 antiquities claimed by Italy, but the statue was excluded from negotiations. Since then, the Getty Museum has returned a number of artifacts claimed by Italy, including three terracotta statues depicting “Orpheus and the Sirens” from around 300 B.C. It caused controversy in Italy when it was returned.

Thursday’s ruling was a so-called court ruling, not a final one. Either party has three months to request that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice to consider whether it merits further investigation. “But rarely do they make it to the Grand Court,” said Mr. Dacia, the lawyer. The Getty newspaper said Thursday it is “carefully considering the possibility of requesting a review before the Grand Chamber.”

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