A Dutch lawyer, who is representing the interests of Ukraine in the “Scythian gold” case, says that additional information testifying to the judge’s bias and ties with the Russian Federation has been found this year.
He said this in an exclusive commentary to an Ukrinform correspondent after the end of the hearings in the Amsterdam Court of Appeal regarding the judge’s recusal in the “Scythian gold” case.
“As you know, last year there were hearings in The Hague regarding the disqualification of Judge Oranje, since 10 years ago he was involved in the Yukos case, and also because of his acquaintance with two lawyers who then fought side by side with him and who today represent the interests of Crimean museums. We believe this compromises him as the presiding judge. However, he appealed against this decision, and last year the court found that Mr. Oranje was right, and the court sees no problems. We accepted this decision, but in the middle of this year we received a lot of information and documents from one lawyer. They showed that Judge Oranje did not tell the exact truth at that hearing. This made us feel very uncomfortable, so we bring this issue up again. After all, we believe that we cannot deal with a judge who does not tell the whole truth. Therefore, this hearing was all about the question of whether Mr. Oranje was truthful in last year’s hearing,” Dutch lawyer Maarten Sanders said.
He also noted that the Dutch lawyers had time to speak, despite the fact that the judge, whose recusal the Ukrainian side is asking for, did not manage to finish his speech.
“We were able to present our case well, but a strange thing happened. At the hearing, one of the judges felt bad, so we had to stop in the middle of the hearing. However, we all agreed that the court would make a decision based on the facts that were exchanged today while the ill judge was still in the courtroom. Yes, there will be a ruling and there is every reason to hope that we have presented the case well,” Sanders noted.
The presiding judge said that everything that happened on September 2, before the incident, was recorded and will be taken into account. During today’s hearing, two Dutch lawyers representing Ukraine managed to speak. The judge, whose recusal the Ukrainian side is asking for, did not manage to finish his speech due to the fact that his colleague felt bad.
After the break, it was decided that the lawyer of the Crimean museums and the representative of the Allard Pierson Museum could submit their speeches in writing. After the submission of written statements, the hearings were closed.
As reported, on March 11, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal started to consider an appeal in the case of the return of the “Scythian gold” collection to Ukraine. The collection of Scythian gold had been delivered to the Allard Pearson Museum in Amsterdam as part of the exhibition entitled “Crimea – the Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea” prior to the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation.
On December 14, 2016, the Amsterdam District Court ruled that the exhibits of the Crimean museums had to be returned to Ukraine.
The judgment was delivered on the basis of the UNESCO convention, according to which art treasures should be returned to the sovereign state, which provided them for temporary display.
On March 28, 2017, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal received an appeal against the ruling from the representatives of Crimean museums.
Currently, the “Scythian gold” collection is kept in the Allard Pearson Museum in Amsterdam.