Swiss court orders return of 15 ancient objects to Greece

Geneva’s courthouse

15 ancient objects dating from the prehistoric period to the Roman era are being repatriated to Greece from Switzerland following an order by a Geneva court in the context of criminal proceedings against a well-known antiquities dealer.

These are figurines, clay and copper vessels, a gold diadem with laurel leaves, a torso of a nude male figure, a bronze statuette of a nude athlete, a pair of bronze anklets and a silver coin.

The Ministry of Culture said in a statement that after being informed by the Consulate General of Greece about the case, it appointed a lawyer to take all the necessary actions in order to gain access to all the objects that were under seizure. Among them were 15 antiquities of Greek interest.

After the relevant documentation, with a court decision issued in July 2022, these objects were definitively assigned to the Greek state, as products of illegal trafficking.

"It is a moral obligation between peoples to return cultural goods to their birthplace"

As the Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni stated, "The Ministry of Culture and Sports, especially in recent years, attaches great importance to the repatriation of any cultural asset which is inextricably linked to our cultural heritage.

"The return of cultural goods to their place of birth, beyond a universal issue, is a moral obligation between peoples in the context of respecting and protecting the common global cultural heritage.

"The need to repatriate cultural property that has been removed illegally or through processes of questionable legality is dictated by the fundamental principles of international conventions, regardless of time limits or limitations.

"We work systematically on the basis of a holistic management plan, with main axes: The expansion of the protection of cultural goods, the suppression of illegal trafficking and the return of Greek antiquities to their home."

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