Libya releases detained ICC staff members

The Libyan government on July 2 released four International Criminal Court (ICC) staff members who had been detained for nearly four weeks. The release was announced while the ICC’s president, Sang-Hyun Song, was visiting the country. The prosecution’s office confirmed the release and noted that a hearing in their cases is expected on July 23. It added that the four staff members are expected at the hearing, but, even if that is not the case, a verdict will be issued in absentia. The release announcement came two weeks after the Libyan government started its investigation of ICC staff members. They had been accused of spying and attempting to smuggle documents to the imprisoned son of Moammar Qaddafi, Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, from his former aide.

Libya’s detention of the ICC’s staff members had sparked several complaints and demands by the international communities. The UN Security Council had demanded the immediate release of the four staff members noting that Libya has a legal obligation under Resolution 1970(2011) to “cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor.” The presidents of two UN-backed courts the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) echoed the Council’s demand by calling the detention “unacceptable” and “deplorable.” The ICC had criticized the Libyan government for not explaining the reason for its staff members’ detention, alleging that it was violating international law.

From Jurist, July 2. Used with permission.

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