18:14 GMT29 November 2020
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    The ruling by a Dutch court to give Scythian gold to Ukraine is a political one, as it violates international law and the principles of inter-museum exchanges, Maria Jarmusch, an expert in international law told Sputnik Germany.

    “This decision is politicized, illegal and absolutely groundless. It flies in the face of contract law and international law because  these artefacts belong to Crimean museums and, in keeping with a pertinent agreement, shall be returned to the Crimean museums they were taken from for the duration of the exhibition in Amsterdam,” she said.

    She added that the court in Amsterdam had essentially turned down the Russian lawsuits and handed the collection of over 2,000 artifacts worth around one million euros over to Kiev where it can now be claimed by all interested parties.

    “This is a political decision aimed against Russia,” Jarmusch told Sputnik Germany.

    Russia has already said that it will challenge the ruling in a higher court, and Maria Jarmusch believes that Moscow has every reason to expect a positive outcome.

    “This ruling begs for an appeal, as the Crimean museums have an iron-clad case here and their submissions are fully justified and corroborated by facts. [In 2014] the Hague's arbitration court ordered Russia to pay out $50 billion in damages to the shareholders of the defunct oil giant Yukos – a decision that was eventually quashed by a higher Dutch court. 

    Because the  ruling to give the Scythian gold to Kiev is illegal, chances are very high that it will be revoked by a higher court that will right the wrong and give the collection back to its lawful owners in Crimea,” she emphasized.

    In an interview with Sputnik, State Duma Deputy Svetlana Savchenko dismissed the court’s ruling as absolutely unlawful.

    “There is a term in international law about completeness of museum collections. The contracts were signed with our Crimean museums and the artefacts must be returned to these museums. Unfortunately, they took a cynical and illegal decision and a purely political one to boot” she said.

    She added that this was a continuation of a cynical logic whereby Crimea is part of Ukraine and so it is up to Kiev to decide what is to be returned to Crimea and what is not.

    “This is absolutely out of touch with reality. Crimea is part of the Russian Federation and it was a decision made by Crimeans themselves.”

    When asked whether Kiev will have to pay the Dutch for the collection’s safekeeping, Svetlana Savchenko said that, being a rich country, Ukraine will certainly pay up.

    “What it doesn’t pay, they will take away anyway because Ukraine has long been run by the West.”

    “There are legal procedures and we will certainly appeal. We still want the international museum community to intervene on this matter because no Russian museum will ever agree to exhibit in Holland again. I believe the international museum community should intervene, not on behalf of Russia, but on behalf of a concrete museum, which is trying to prevent its collection from being broken up. This is something everybody should agree on,” Savchenko said in conclusion.

    With the decision of a higher Dutch court still pending, the collection will remain in Amsterdam.

    The collection of the Scythian gold, which is a part of Crimea. Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea" exhibition, was brought to the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam in early February 2014. The collection was provided by five museums, one in Kiev and four in Crimea.

    The dispute about the exhibition arose after Crimea reunified with Russia following a referendum in 2014.

    In August 2014, media reported that the Allard Pierson Museum’s administration had decided not to return the exhibits to Ukraine or Crimea, pending a competent court decision or an amicable agreement.

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    Crimean Museums Confirm Plans to Appeal Decision to Send Scythian Gold To Kiev
    Crimean Deputy PM Slams Amsterdam Court Decision to Give Scythian Gold to Kiev
    court ruling, illegal, collection, gold, appeal, Svetlana Savchenko, Maria Jarmusch, Holland
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