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THE HAGUE, September 23 /TASS/. The district court of Amsterdam expects Crimean museums to give a reply on the Scythian gold collection by October 21, the court’s spokesperson, Fatima el-Gueriri, told TASS on Wednesday.
The initial deadline was September 23. "They did not send their reply today. They asked to set a new date what we did. Now the court is awaiting the reply by October 21," the spokesperson said.
"Ukraine has filed its own lawsuit. At first, it just entered the case. After that, the court allowed it to prepare its own claims. Now, we have been given time to prepare a reply to Ukraine’s claims. We are working on it," Anastasiya Sivitskaya, a lawyer who defends the Crimean museums’ interests, told TASS last week.
"Our reply will contain an objection to Ukraine’s lawsuit," Sivitskaya said without disclosing the document’s content.
"We are going to submit our reply to Ukraine’s lawsuit on October 21. After that, the court will apparently need some time to study the document. It can also demand some additional information from the sides. I believe that the first real hearing will take place in winter," Sivitskaya said noting that the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam had also asked for extra time.
Four Crimean museums, including the Tavrida Central Museum, the Kerch Historical and Cultural Reserve, the Bakhchisaray Historical and Cultural Reserve as well as the Khersones Tavrichesky National Reserve, filed a lawsuit against the University of Amsterdam in November 2014 with a demand to return the collection.
The Scythian gold exhibits provided by five museums, one in Kiev and four in Crimea, were displayed at the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in February 2014, when Crimea was still part of Ukraine. Later in 2014, when Crimea reunified with Russia, the museum decided not to return the gold to either Ukraine or Russia and urged an official investigation that would identify the owner.
"Crimea: the Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea" exhibition featured jewelry made of precious metals, weapons and household utensils.
The exhibits provided by the Kiev museum returned to Ukraine a year ago.
Crimea has repeatedly claimed its right to the exhibits’ return to Crimean museums because all the artifacts have been found in the peninsula’s territory and have been stored in its museums.