Author(s): Geoffrey Robertson
The controversy about the Elgin Marbles continues to rage. This book will be the first to propound a system for the return of cultural property, based on human rights law principles that are being developed by the courts to decide whether artworks, manuscripts and sculptures have cultural importance and have been acquired in circumstances that morally require their return to enable peoples to enjoy the 'keys to their history'. The book examines how the past can be experienced - by everyone. It will ask what is the difference between an original and a perfect copy, and in what circumstances that difference should require uplifting of the relic and bringing it back home. Geoffrey Robertson has been involved in a number of celebrated cases - he acted with Amal Clooney to provide the Greek Government with legal arguments for reuniting the Parthenon Marbles, and took successful action for Tasmanian Aboriginals to force London's Natural History Museum to return the remains of their ancestors. In this book he will discuss these cases, and will conclude by describing, in non-legal language, a rule that can be applied to decide in particular cases how museums and private collections should distinguish treasures that are not 'theirs'.