Back in February, the 'Athenians’ Association' launched a lawsuit at the European Court of Human Rights against the United Kingdom for the return of the Parthenon Marbles. According to the Association, the initiative to launch the lawsuit came when the board of directors was informed that the United Kingdom responded negatively to participating in mediation a procedure, as part of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Goods in the Country of Origin. The lawsuit recently came to court and was rejected.

The European Court stated that since the alleged crime of stealing the marbles from Greece took place 150 years ago that it did not have the legislative power to consider the lawsuit, since the robbery occurred before the UK signed into the human rights convention.

"It is clear from the nature of the applicant’s complaints that its underlying grievance is the allegedly unlawful removal of the marbles from Greece. The removal having occurred some 150 years before the Convention was drafted and ratified by the respondent state, the applicant’s complaints would appear to be inadmissible."

Furthermore, the judges also added that the Athenians’ Association did not have ' any right…to have the marbles returned to Greece.'

This action is not deterring the Athenians’ Association in the least. They said that they will continue to pursue getting the UK to return the stolen marbles to Greece. Vassilis Sotiropoulo, legal representative for the Athenians’ Association stated:

"Globally, this first statement of the European Court, historically the first court judgement, on the subject of the Parthenon Marbles highlights the points that Greece should focus on with particular attention in her recourse against the United Kingdom."

Recent polls have shown an overwhelming majority of UK citizens support the reunification of the Greek Marbles as an Ipsos-Mori poll recently showed 69 percent of Britons were in favor of returning the marbles, while only a mere 13 percent were against.

Also, MPs put forth a new Bill, The Parthenon Sculptures (Return to Greece), which was presented on July 10 by a joint-partisan panel composed of Liberal Democrat MP Mark Williams, supported by Conservative Jeremy Lefroy and 10 other MPs from Labor, the SNP and Plaid Cymru. Mark Williams said of the bill:

"It’s time we engaged in a gracious act. To put right a 200-year wrong. These magnificent artifacts were improperly dragged and sawn off the remains of the Parthenon."

Now, let me make clear: I want these antiquities returned to Greece. I want them returned because I think they belong in Greece--in Athens, specifically--and I think it will help the economy of said country. Let me also make clear that I think these legal actions are the wrong way about it and they are also quite useless. As the European Court stated: what happened with the Marbles happened long before the EU. If the Marbles are to return, it has to be because the UK and Greece come to an agreement about it, not because it was forced by legislation.

The Parthenon Marbles, also known as the Elgin Marbles, is a collection of classical Greek marble sculptures, inscriptions and architectural members that originally were part of the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis of Athens. Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin obtained a controversial permit from the Ottoman authorities to remove pieces from the Parthenon while serving as the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1799 to 1803. Since then, there has been great controvercy surrounding the legitimacy of this permit and the validity of the UK's claim to keep the Marbles instead of sending them home to Greece.