Saturday, November 27

Court ruling: “Crimean gold” belongs to Ukraine

Status: 10/26/2021 2:16 p.m.

It was a year-long tug-of-war over cultural assets – now a court in Amsterdam has decided: The gold treasure from the museums in Crimea, which is currently in the Netherlands, belongs to the Ukraine. Their cultural interests would outweigh those of the Crimea.

According to a court ruling, a gold treasure from four museums in Crimea, around 2000 years old, belongs to Ukraine. That was decided by an Amsterdam court. The museums of the peninsula in the Black Sea are left behind. You appealed against a judgment of the first instance in 2016. An appeal can still be lodged against this judgment.

A dispute broke out after the annexation of Crimea

The background to the legal dispute is an exhibition in the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam in 2014 about archaeological art treasures of the Crimea. The hundreds of items also included gold, jewels, weapons, and masks. But in 2014 the Crimea was annexed by Russia. The Amsterdam Museum did not return the valuable objects after the exhibition was over, as it did not know who was the legal owner.

The question of ownership then became part of an explosive political debate: the four museums on the peninsula, which are now under Russian administration, demanded the items from their collections to be returned. But in Kiev’s view it is about Ukrainian state property.

Ukraine’s rights take precedence

The reason given by the presiding judge, Pauline Hofmeijer-Rutten, was that the national cultural interests of Ukraine outweigh those of the museums in Crimea. “The Allard Pierson Museum is no longer obliged to return the pieces to the Krimmuseen.” The rights of the Ukrainian state based on the Museum Act would prevail.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the verdict. “We always get back what is ours,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Unfair and Illegal” Judgment

The Kremlin in Moscow has not yet officially commented on the verdict. Sergei Aksjonow, the top politician in the Russian-controlled Crimea, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying that the verdict was “unfair and illegal”. “I think the fight for the return of the valuables that rightfully belong to the peoples of Crimea must continue,” he said.

The precious art treasures are in the care of the Amsterdam Museum in a secret location. The University of Amsterdam, owner of the Allard Pierson Museum, said the museum will continue to store the objects until all objections are resolved.

Amsterdam court decides: Crimean gold belongs to Ukraine

Ludger Kazmierczak, ARD The Hague, 26.10.2021 · 13:44

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