The Swiss Federal Office of Culture has handed over the marble sculpture of the head of a young woman from the Hellenistic period, around 2,000 years old to the Libyan Embassy in Bern.
The sculpture, a 19 centimetre high is entirely covered with a reddish patina which provides information on its origin as coming from the archaeological site of the ancient city of Cyrene in present-day Libya, the Federal Office of Culture announced on Tuesday.
The cultural artifact was found during a customs inspection in a warehouse in Geneva in 2013, the object was confiscated as a proceed of crime in 2016 on suspicion that it had come from a looted excavation.
According to the press release, it is a violation of the Federal Act on the International Transfer of Cultural Property to import stolen or looted cultural property into Switzerland or store it in a customs warehouse.
Both Switzerland and Libya, a country plunged into chaos since the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and governed by two rival executives, are parties to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Prohibition of Import, Illicit Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.