Showing posts with label Libya. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Libya. Show all posts

October 16, 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017 - ,,, No comments

UPDATE: The two Philaeni bronzes in Libya are reported as safe.


Earlier today, alerted by news reports from Libyan environmental activist Saleh Drayagh, ARCA posted a blog report that two reclining bronze statues of the Philaeni brothers had been stolen from an archaeological site in Sultan, Libya, 60 km east of Sirte by factions loyal to the Islamic State group.

Tourist illustration
of the Arch of the Philaeni
Image Credit: Khalifa Abo Khraisse
The bronzes were all that was left of the 100 foot tall,  Marble Arch, also known as the Arch of the Philaeni (Italian: Arco dei Fileni),  which was erected during the period of the Italian occupation and officially unveiled by Mussolini in 1937.  During that time, occupying forces built the Via Litoranea, the first tarmac road around the Gulf of Sidra, and constructed the rather out of place monumental arch at the point which marked the border between the two provinces of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica at Ras Lanuf and Al Uqaylah. 

While the arch survived the Second World War it was later blown up under the orders of  Muammar Gaddafi in 1970. Gaddafi, the deposed leader of Libya, was captured and himself killed on 20 October 2011 during the Battle of Sirte.

When first erected, the arch paid tribute to a story from long ago, when Libya was divided by still another war, the fight between the Carthaginian in the West and the Greek Cyrenaica in the East.  Legend had it that the two nations agreed to define their border with an unusual method. 

Each opposing force is said to have treated by selecting runners who were to start out running towards one another at the same time on the same day. When the runners converged, the spot would then mark the border between the two opposing nations.

Carthage chose the two Philaeni brothers, who it is said proved faster than the squad from Cyrene.  Arriving ahead of their adversaries, rumors began floating  about that the Carthaginians had cheated by allowing their runners to start earlier than the prescribed time.  As a result, the Cyrenaica refused to accept the results and honor the deal. 

Seizing the runners, the two Philaeni brothers were given a difficult choice, most likely to provoke a confession for duplicity.  The pair could either agree to be buried alive, right there on the spot and marking the new border with their tombs, or they could allow the Cyrenaica to continue to advance at their convenience to the west.


The brothers patriotically accepted the first option and the Carthaginians built two commemorative altars at their gravesite to honor their sacrifice.  On the ruins of the altars Mussolini's forces later erected the marble arch. 

But as more and more corpses pile up in Libya's modern war, specifically in the battle in Sirte against the Islamic State, the bronze bodies of corpses have luckily not become a casualty.  Instead, they have been dismounted and moved to a safe place.



December 3, 2016

Geneva authorities report the confiscation of 9 artifacts from Palmyra, Syria, Yemen and Libya

Swiss authorities have confiscated nine archaeological objects originating from Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Through document records obtained by Swiss tribunal it has been determined that the objects were shipped to Switzerland between 2009 and 2010 and were stored at the Ports Francs et Entrepôts de Genève in their 6-story La Praille facility, located in a sprawling grey industrial building on the corner of a busy junction in southwest Geneva.

Back in September ARCA posted its own concerns about Ports Francs et Entrepôts de Genève SA attempt to reduce their risks surrounding the trade in stolen antiquities, both in terms of money-laundering and as a potential support for arms traffickers or terrorist groups. At that time, the free port was set to make changes that may or may not have been prompted to address this seizure, but still, in our opinion fall short of the thoroughly addressing the problem of storing looted artworks.

Originally set to be implemented this past summer, the new internal policy was implimented on September 19, 2016 and requires that anyone wanting to store ancient artifacts at the sprawling facility will have to undergo checks by an independent firm KPMG.  This group is tasked with investigating the validity of requests and the precise origins of any antiquities before the object is approved for transport to the complex for subsequent storage.  It should be noted that KPMG is a powerhouse accounting audit firm and in no way has had prior experience with this type of art-related transport auditing.

Back in October French finance minister Michel Sapin's, speaking on terrorism funding criticized security at Switzerland's free ports saying "there is a weak link, which is the existence of free ports."    And while it should be clearly noted that the recently publicized seizures in the tax-free zone predate both the Syrian and the Yemen conflict, ARCA agrees that controls by art provenance experts and not accounting experts would be a better means of addressing the continued problems seen at not just Ports Francs et Entrepôts de Genève but freeports as holding facilities for art world wide. 

The antiquities were discovered during an target-based Federal Customs Administration audit of the free port in April 2013 in a space rented by a private individual.  Presently that individual has not been publically identified.

In January 2015 Swiss authorities, through the Federal Office of Culture (FOC) confirmed the authenticity of the ancient objects, and have stated that some of the seized objects were shipped to the facility from Qatar (Items 1-6) and the United Arab Emirates (Item 7).  Swiss authorities have also stated that evidence gathered during the investigation has led the prosecutor to conclude that the goods seized were from looting and as a result, confiscation was ordered.  In addition a criminal case has been opened by the Tribune de Genève in March 2016 to be followed by Prosecutor Gregory Orci.

North-West Façade
Musée d'Art et d'Histoire
While the objects await permanent release to their countries of origin Swiss prosecutors have transferred the objects for safekeeping from Ports Francs et Entrepôts de Genève to the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire located at Rue Charles-Galland 2, 1206 Genève where they will be placed on public display.  

The objects have been identified by the Swiss authorities as follows with the following designations and in the order as they appear in official records.

Item 1 - A head of Aphrodite, origin Hellenic North Africa, Libya

Image: Geneva Public Prosecutor
Item 2 - A priest wearing his miter head, origin Palmyra, Syria

Image: Geneva Public Prosecutor
Item 3 - A circular table with decoration of ovals and head of ibex, origin southern Arabian Peninsula, Yemen

Image: Geneva Public Prosecutor
Item 4 - A praying [sic] origin southern Arabian Peninsula, Yemen


Image: Geneva Public Prosecutor
Item 5 - anthropomorphic stele, origin southern Arabian Peninsula, Yemen


Item 6 - anthropomorphic stele, origin southern Arabian Peninsula, Yemen
Image: Geneva Public Prosecutor
Item 7 - A quâtabanite registration stele, origin southern Arabian Peninsula, Yemen


Image: Geneva Public Prosecutor 
Item 8 - Funerary bas-relief from Palmyra, Syria

Image: Geneva Public Prosecutor
Item 9 - Funerary bas-relief from Palmyra, Syria
Image: Geneva Public Prosecutor

No longer simply Italian and Greek objects raising concern at the free ports, the Geneva port authority also recently relinquished a Nile Delta stele to Egyptian authorities following a two-year investigation after an inventory control by Swiss Federal Customs at the Ports Francs et Entrepôts de Genève SA facility at the Geneva airport.   The stele was identified as suspicious using the ICOM red list for Egypt and as a result was held pending authentication and then reported to Swiss prosecution for its irregularities. Criminal proceedings were conducted by the Attorney Claudio Mascotto and the object was returned in November of this year.

By: Lynda Albertson 

May 14, 2016

Heritage Destruction in the Mediterranean Region

By Guest Editorial: Joris Kila, PhD
Cultural Adviser, The Hague Senior Researcher
Kompetenzzentrum Kulturelles Erbe und Kulturgüterschutz,
University of Vienna

This article is being released online in advance of publication in the IEMed Mediterranean Yearbook 2016 print issue. (www.iemed.org/medyearbook)

All over the news we see cultural property, the legal term widely used for cultural heritage, often connected to the cradles of civilisation, being damaged, smuggled and abused. Currently much devastation is taking place in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, more specifically the Mediterranean area, e.g. Syria, Iraq, Libya and Egypt. Within the size limitations of this article I will indicate some problems, causes and possible solutions regarding safeguarding cultural property. These examples will hopefully stimulate discussion, research and a more pro-active approach towards short and long-term solutions.

Problems and Deficiencies

Because of recent conflicts and upheavals, some of which are ongoing, substantial parts of the world’s cultural resources, which are not just artworks but also containers of identity and memory, have been lost or are under threat. In modern asymmetric conflicts, cultural property protection (CPP) is a complex and serious issue due to the variety of stakeholders with unbalanced interests, its multidisciplinary character and the potential sensitivity of heritage issues, which is often connected with local, national or religious identities. 

Since institutionalised CPP emergency activities as mandatory operations under national and international law are virtually absent, a small number of cultural experts, often acting as concerned private individuals without funding, took matters into their own hands to give a good example for official CPP institutions. This resulted in a modest number of relevant and innovative activities like undercover on-site emergency assessments and engagements with military stakeholders resulting, for instance, in cultural no-strike lists, as was used in Libya in 2011 and the development of CPP doctrines for military operational planning (Kila & Zeidler 2013, Kila & Herndon 2014).

Notwithstanding this, CPP should no longer be taken care of solely by the purview of this small group of concerned people. Phenomena like using cultural property to finance conflicts, iconoclasm, military aspects, CPP and global security, strategic communication (parties as protectors or destroyers of culture) and conflicting interests of old and new stakeholders need structural research and organisation. Furthermore, the links with identity, counterinsurgency, transnational organised crime and illicit trafficking, including its related transnational finance flows, heritage as a resource for local development and the overlap between cultural and natural resources need attention. Worldwide cooperation is also dependent on new stakeholders like military organisations, crime experts, tourism organisations and cultural diplomats. 

Although legal frameworks for heritage protection appear in place (e.g. The Hague 1954, the Rome Statute 1998), today’s state of cultural property in conflict areas clearly illustrates that the effectiveness of policies and strategies (to be) implemented by institutions tasked with CPP in the event of conflict are insufficient. Most institutions seem to lack pro-activity and tend towards bureaucratic and risk-avoiding behaviour (Wilson 1989, Kila 2012. Kila, Zeidler 2013). The latter relates to (over) politicising heritage because of sensitivity caused by identity, religion and economic issues. Consequently, essential developments concerning the changing status of heritage, its economic value, heritage protection as an instrument in counter-terrorism denying the enemy financial means to prolong a conflict and legal developments, e.g. the criminalisation of offenses against cultural property in international criminal law, are not studied in a coherent transdisciplinary context.

Organisations themselves claim lack of funding as a major reason for their indolence. In the meantime devastation continues, whereas the international cooperation, coordination and research that should drive transdisciplinary, interagency and emergency endeavours, as well as the necessary funding, is either lacking or misspent. In this context a recurring misconception is that although protection of heritage is important, aid to those in need because of conflicts and natural disasters should have priority. This line of argument does not hold water because one does not exclude the other. CPP and humanitarian aid are substantively and financially separate. No funds are withdrawn from monies allocated to humanitarian disasters when heritage is protected.

Europe and CPP

One could say that CPP including combating illicit trade in artifacts is not the specific capability of the EU. Certainly it is not stated per se in the treaties, but it does fall within several areas of EU competence. Examples of this are the internal market, freedom, security and justice (AFSJ) and culture along with common foreign and security policy (CFSP).

The EU probably has no CPP expertise capability but there are experts that can provide  knowledge on this. Stakeholders like NATO*,  Europol, INTERPOL and the International Criminal Court, all based in Europe, share identical problems (lack of cultural expertise and funding), so potentially this burden can be shared making it less costly and more efficient. An example: a potential step forward was made by creating the EU CULTNET,** in  theory a platform for networking, expertise and knowledge sharing. 

In 2015, the EU Parliament called on Member States to take necessary steps to involve universities, research bodies and cultural institutions in the fight against illicit trade in cultural goods from war areas. Instead of just calling the usual re-active institutions, and in an attempt to really act without delay, a task force including cultural experts with proven track records and strong networks is highly advisable. Such an entity can be created at short notice to provide expert advice for all stakeholders. Simultaneously Europe should start coordination, research and education regarding CPP and the implementation of (legal) instruments to safeguard cultural property.  Currently the  United   States  do more  than  Europe,  and unfortunately there is little cooperation with them on this topic; maybe this will change when Europe follows in taking responsibility for CPP in the context of conflicts.

The Mediterranean Region

Cultural heritage can suffer from multiple types of damage and offences related to conflict. Typical examples include collateral damage, vandalism, encroachment as part of development, iconoclasm and looting. In Libya and Syria all these phenomena occur simultaneously; Syria is already seriously affected and Libyan heritage is, for the most part, still under threat. 

Moreover, we should consider that, according to several sources, substantial numbers of artefacts looted and smuggled out of the Mediterranean region are likely hidden in secret depots. These will enter the market in the future. As the NY Times put it: "Long-established smuggling organizations are practiced in getting the goods to people willing to pay for them, and patient enough to stash ancient artifacts in warehouses until scrutiny dies down. ***

Some Case Examples

Syria

Many important sites, libraries, archives, churches and mosques in Syria were destroyed in 2015. All warring parties are guilty of devastation and illicit trade, but  IS  drew  the  most  attention. We all remember images of temples and graves in Palmyra being blown up by IS, not to mention the execution of Palmyrian archaeologist Khaled  al-Asaad in August 2015.

In Syria, we see the return of iconoclasm driven and legitimized as an excuse for eliminating perceptions of  heresy  as well  as the  'recycling' of antique monuments  originally  built  for defense, like Krak de Chevaliers, Palmyra's Fakhr-al-Din al-Ma'ani Castle or the destroyed Temple of Bel. Iconoclasm is not only directed at immovable heritage but also at written heritage making manuscripts and books equally at risk. 

The majority of today's warring parties are guilty of destruction intentionally or by accident while disregarding cultural  property's protected status under (inter)national laws. The increase in looting and illicit traffic of cultural property, the revenues from which are used to finance conflicts, implies that CPP can be a military incentive (force multiplier) denying the enemy the means to prolong a conflict. 

CPP should therefore be part of military operational planning processes (OPP). NATO could play a role in this, helped by cultural experts, by supplying CPP doctrine planning models to Member States. The ICC should investigate possibilities of prosecuting cultural war crimes in Syria through international criminal law and certain treaties that give the ICC jurisdiction in Libya. Cultural expertise is needed for organizations like the ICC and, therefore, funding has to be in place.

Libya

Present-day Libya is divided in two parts controlled by two rival 'governments ': in Tripoli and (recognized internationally) Tobruk. Negotiations are taking place under supervision of the United Nations to unite the country again. The latest news is the announcement of a new government of national accord temporarily based in Tunis. The Department  of Antiquities  in Tripoli is still active (January 2016) and has made urgent demands for international help in order to assess the nature  of the  threats  against  Libyan heritage in situ and to find simple and cheap solutions. 

Libya has five UNESCO World Heritage sites: the ancient Greek archaeological sites of Cyrene; the Roman ruins of Leptis Magna; the Phoenician port of Sabratha; the  rock-art  sites  of  the  Acacus Mountains in the Sahara Desert; and old Ghadamès, an oasis city. 

Sites like Leptis Magna are out in the open and exposed to all kinds of threats, especially theft and urban encroachment. The Benghazi area suffers from a lack of security, and Cyrene is not only threatened by looting, but  also by (illegal) commercial developments destroying precious heritage. 

At the end of 2015, pro-ISIL militants took temporary control of part of the town of Sabratha to free members seized by a rival militia. Libya's anti- government Islamic militants have aligned with IS and are active in the surrounding areas of Sabratha, which people fear will fall victim to iconoclasm and looting. 

Iconoclastic attacks have already taken place against Sufi tombs and mosques, amongst others, in Tripoli. Several international structures and organizations exist that could and should deal with CPP in Libya but they are not doing so (effectively) because they are (or feel) restricted often by their own governments, due to possible political implications.

Conclusions

Cultural heritage abuse and destruction are rampant. Old phenomena like iconoclasm are back in strength. Iconoclasm arose in Europe in the iconoclastic rage of 1566 in which the Calvinists destroyed statues in Catholic churches and monasteries. Apart from being driven by religious motives, the destruction of antiquities and cultural objects of heritage in the Mediterranean region seems to be used as a modern form of psychological warfare. Attacks on cultural heritage also show elements of cultural genocide and, as acknowledged by the United Nations, war crimes or even crimes against humanity.

Monuments and cultural objects stand for the identity of groups and individuals. lf you want to hurt a society or a nation at its heart or erase their existence from historical memory, then their cultural heritage is a grateful prey. The main concern is that there is presently no operational protection system being implemented based on international cooperation and coordination. Legal obligations and sanctions are not sufficiently implemented and enforced - for instance, cultural war crimes should be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court.  

Can we stop the destruction of our shared cultural heritage in the Mediterranean area? 

This is hard to say, but we, especially Europa, should now, more than ever, resist the dismantling of our shared identity and become pro­ active.

--Mr. Kila will be speaking at the Saint Petersburg Institute of Oriental Manuscripts Conference: "Facing the Chaos. Tangible and Intangible Heritage Protection in the XXI century" on May 19, 2016.




* Military organizations especially NATO do not have CPP expertise nor are they hiring experts to educate the military and to bring CPP into operational planning doctrines.
** Council Resolution 14232/12 of 4 October 2012 on the creation of an informal network of law enforcement authorities and expertise competent in the field of cultural goods  (EU CULTNET).
***Source www.nytimes.com/2016/01/10/world/europe/iraq-syria-antiquities-ielamic-etate.html?_r=O accessed on 20 January 2016. 

-----------------------

References

KILA J. and HERNDON C. "Military  involvement  in Cultural Property Protection: An Overview by Joris Kila and Christopher Herndon" in Joint  Forces Quarterly, JFQ 74, 3rd Quarter 2014 July 2014.

KILA J. and ZEIDLER JA "Military Involvement in Cultural Property   Protection   as   part   of   Preventive Conservation'  In   Cultural  Heritage in  the Crosshairs: Protecting Cultural Property during Conflict, Kila, J. and Zeidler, J. (Eds), Leiden­ Boston 2013. Conclusion, Joris D. Kila and James A. Zeidler ibid. Pp. 9-50 and Pp.351-353.

KILA J. Heritage under Siege. Military implementation of  Cultural  Property Protection following the1954 Hague Convention Leiden-Boston 2012.

WILSON J. Bureaucracy. What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do it, New York, 1989.

June 19, 2011

Current conflict in Libya puts Greek and Roman ruins at risk

by Rez Hamilton, ARCA Blog Contributor

This is an extract taken from, "Military use of ancient ruins during conflict" submitted for ARCA's course, "Art Crime in War" taught by Judge Arthur Tompkins, 2011.

Recently, international news has brought attention to the ancient city of Leptis Magna in modern day Libya, an archeological site that has been valued for its beauty and almost unheard of completeness. Leptis Magna is unfortunately located between two combating strongholds: Tripoli (about sixty miles away from the ancient ruins) and Misratah (currently held by rebel forces), and at the time of this report is still under the hold of Muammar Gaddafi. The current conflict in Libya which has been ongoing for the past several months has recently had journalists and archeologists alarmed that rumors pertaining to the Gaddafi regime’s use of this ancient site as a staging point for munitions and/or for military operational use are true.

Sadly, the ancient site of Leptis Magna has the potential of being irrevocably damaged by modern warfare having previously survived and persevered since the first recorded conflict against the Byzantines in the first millennium BC and just shy of its 30-year anniversary of being an UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Security and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site. To give some scope to its scale and historical importance, Leptis Magna used to be Roman’s third largest and influential city on the African continent, following Alexandria and Carthage. Another UNESCO site that was declared in Libya during 1982 is Cyrene, which is currently a stronghold of rebel forces and which also has a history of military presence among its ancient ruins during World War II. With NATO’s ongoing conflict against the Muammar Gaddafi regime, a statement has been released which indicates that regardless of the location of resistant positions, NATO forces will strike, which means not even UNESCO heritage sites are safe.

Are the rumors true? According to reporters who attended a Libyan government sponsored tour of Leptis Magna last Wednesday, no military presence of personnel or munitions were seen. However, one must be considerate of the fact that due to the tour being Gaddafi regime sponsored, proof may have been taken away prior to the reporters arrival and/or may have been moved onto or replaced to the site soon after the camera crews had departed. In the meantime, the world must hope that the use of the site as a military show of force or for storage will never come to pass.

A military’s use of ancient ruins during conflict is not new nor is it unusual. One famous example which was used in order to justify the removal of the famed Elgin Marbles now housed in the British Museum in the UK, was when the Turks were using the Parthenon as munitions storage. While in storage, an accidental ignition of some of the weapons directly damaged the site. Ongoing arguments abound on the topic of its repatriation, and on whether or not Lord Elgin saved the marbles from further destruction.

Modern warfare cannot and will not allow the time nor will it lend protection to ancient sites, regardless of conventions and treaties. Nothing is unconditionally safe during conflict and as the record of the current regime has showed its marked carelessness for human life, it is safe to assume that not even ancient relics will be preserved. We can only hope that should any evil befall the ruins as the conflict continues that there will be enough left to put the pieces back together and that no plunder occur in the interim which would scatter the remains to the four corners of the earth for those with little care of provenance and wealthy enough to afford illicit antiquities. Should the plunder come to pass, then the ancient ruins will probably be forever ruined with little chance of ever reacquiring all the pieces to the heralded Leptis Magna, one of the most complete archeological sites known in modern times.

To personally share your thoughts/comments along with any examples of other specific ancient ruins which were used by the military in times of conflict (besides the parthenon), please email me at: rez.hamilton@gmail.com

Works Cited:

· 1943, January. "Leptis Magna at Risk: History Repeats." Project Patrimonio. Word Press, 14 June 2011. Web. 18 June 2011.
· "Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna." UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Web. 18 June 2011.
· Charman-Smith, Mary. "The Ancient Ruins of Leptis Magna, Libya | Eyeflare.com." Eyeflare.com. 31 Jan. 2011. Web. 18 June 2011.
· Coghlan, Tom. "Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi Hides Grad Missiles from NATO Raids in the Ruins of Leptis Magna « Shabab Libya." Shabab Libya. The Times, 14 June 2011. Web. 18 June 2011.
· Hewton, Terry. "Libya: Putting Ancient Ruins into a Contemporary PerspectiveAt Leptis Magna Ancient Romans, Early Christians and Modern Libyans Meet." Guardian [London] 23 Nov. 2010, World News sec. Guardian | Guardian.co.uk. 23 Nov. 2010. Web. 18 June 2011. 
· Hughes, Peter. "Libya: Ancient Ruins in African Sand." Telegraph [London] 28 May 2008, Travel: Activity and Adventure sec. Telegraph.co.uk - Telegraph. 28 May 2008. Web. 18 June 2011. .
· Londono, Ernesto, and Michael Birnbaum. "Fear for Libya’s Roman Ruins - The Washington Post." The Washington Post. 16 June 2011. Web. 18 June 2011. .
· Mustich, Emma. "Is Gadhafi Putting Ancient Ruins of Leptis Magna at Risk?" Web log post. The Archaeology News Network. 14 June 2011. Web. 18 June 2011. .
· Tharoor, Ishaan. "With Roman Ruins Under Threat, Libya’s Ancient Past Presses Against Its Present - Global Spin - TIME.com." Global Spin - A Blog about the World, Its People and Its Politics - TIME.com. Time Magazine, 14 June 2011. Web. 18 June 2011. http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/06/14/with-roman-ruins-under-threat-libyas-ancient-past-presses-against-its-present/.

More information about the archaeological site of Leptis Magna may be found on the UNESCO site here.

May 18, 2011

Journalist Jason Felch, co-author of "Chasing Aphrodite", reports for the Los Angeles Times from Sicily about the Unveiling of the Venus of Morgantina at its New Smaller Museum in Sicily ... and information about the Venus Italy Returned to Libya Years Ago

Aphrodite (Venus of Morgantina)/AP
by Catherine Schofield Sezgin,
ARCA Blog Editor-in-Chief

LA Times reporter Jason Felch, co-author of Chasing Aphrodite, write's in today's newspaper ("Getty officials on hand for Aphrodite statue's unveiling in Sicily") about the opening reception for the 5th century BC Venus from Morgantina to a room with a capacity of 150 people at the Aidone Archaeological Museum in Sicily.

Francesco Rutelli
In addition to two officials from the J. Paul Getty Museum, the ceremony was attended by Francesco Rutelli, Italy's former culture minister and former mayor of Rome (who spoke eloquently at ARCA's art crime conference in 2009); Italy's new culture minister, Giancarlo Galan; and possibly some of the very people who sold some of the various objects that the Getty had to return. Felch writes:
Among the citizens who turned out were several former "clandestini," the Sicilian term for looters, local officials said. For decades, looting has been a source of income for residents in one of the most impoverished corners of Italy's poorest region.
Aphrodite will join a collection of "Morgantina" silver previously returned to the museum.

The Getty Museum has paid more than $18 million for Aphrodite more than 20 years ago and agreed to return the statue in exchange for "long-loans" or Italian objects, Sharon Waxman wrote in her 2008 book, Loot: The Battle over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World.

You may find other examples of objects returned to countries of origin at the UNESCO website ("Recent examples of successful operations of cultural property restitutions in the world"), including the return in 2007 of a Venus statue from Italy to Libya (also see "Italy to Return Ancient Statue to Libya"). Of course this leads to another question about the safety of archaeology in Libya during the civil unrest and subsequent violent conflict but this morning I did not find any status report earlier than March ("Libya's 'extraordinary' archaeology under threat").  For now you may view the website of the National Museum in Tripoli here.