26 Oct 2021 13:46

Dutch court ruling on Scythian gold may be appealed in Supreme Court of Netherlands - lawyer

SIMFEROPOL. Oct 26 (Interfax) - The Tuesday ruling of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, which says that 2,000 artifacts from the collection of four Crimean museums exhibited in the Netherlands before the peninsula became part of Russia should be returned to Kyiv, is politicized, deputy head of the working group for international and legal affairs at the Crimea office under the Russian president Alexander Molokhov told Interfax.

"The ruling of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal on which nation the Scythian gold belongs to is not quite legal, it is largely politicized. If this ruling takes effect, it will flagrantly violate the right of the Crimean people to access their own cultural heritage, which is guaranteed by a series of international legal acts. The return of this collection to Ukraine contravenes the basic principles of inter-museum exchanges and the rules for conservancy of archaeological discoveries in an inextricable link with the area of their origin," Molokhov said.

"I hope that a cassation appeal will be filed with the Supreme Court of the Netherlands in the near future and the fulfillment of this ruling [on the collection's return to Kyiv] will be suspended," the lawyer said.

The Amsterdam Court of Appeal ruled on Tuesday that the Scythian gold collection belongs to Ukraine. The ruling was published by the press service on the court's website.

The court thus upheld the ruling of the Amsterdam District Court dated December 14, 2016.

Four Crimean museums - the Kerch Historical and Cultural Reserve (incorporated into the East Crimea Historical and Cultural Museum and Reserve), the Tavrida Central Museum, the Bakhchisarai Historical and Cultural Reserve, and the Khersones Tavrichesky Museum - organized an exhibition, Crimea - Golden Island in the Black Sea - first in Bonn in 2013 and later on in Amsterdam. As Crimea joined Russia in 2014, the question arose as to where to return the collection of 2,000 Scythian gold exhibits. The Crimean museums sued the Allard Pierson Museum of the Netherlands to demand the return of the exhibits to the peninsula.

The Amsterdam District Court ruled in December 2016 that the Scythian gold collection belonged to Ukraine and must be returned to Kyiv. The Crimean museums filed an appeal in January 2017. The Amsterdam Court of Appeal started the hearings in March 2019, and repeatedly delayed the final judgment.

Crimean Culture Minister Arina Novoselskaya said earlier that the Scythian gold collection had an estimated value of about 2 million euros, while the actual cost of the exhibits was much higher.