ICC/Libya – NPWJ welcomes release of detained ICC Staff

Brussels-Rome, 3 July 2012

Yesterday, the Libyan authorities released the four staff members of the International Criminal Court (ICC), who were detained since 7 June 2012. The ICC staff members had been in Libya to meet with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who is subject to an ICC arrest warrant for crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Libya since 15 February 2011.
Statement by Alison Smith, Legal Counsel of No Peace Without Justice: 
“No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) welcomes the release by the Libyan authorities of the four ICC staff members, detained in Libya since 7 June 2012 while undertaking a mission authorised by ICC judges and approved by the interim Libyan government to visit with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.
“The continued detention of ICC officials for nearly one month and the fact that their documents had been searched and seized was casting a deep shadow on Libya's willingness and ability to cooperate with the ICC and to abide by international legal standards. Among those standards, two principles are crucial: that communications between lawyers and clients is confidential, and that the officials of the ICC be allowed to operate without hindrance.
“NPWJ has consistently maintained that the international community should support Libya in the investigation and prosecution for those people subject to an ICC arrest warrant, namely Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdulla al-Senussi, and all those others who allegedly bear the greatest responsibility for crimes under international law committed before and during the conflict.
“According to the principle of complementarity, the ICC has jurisdiction only if the Libyan authorities are unable or unwilling to investigate and prosecute the crimes of which they have been accused. In order to demonstrate its willingness and capacity to try Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdulla al-Senussi and the others so that they could face justice in the same place in which they allegedly waged their brutal attacks, Libya should recommit itself to full cooperation with the ICC and guarantee the free movement of its personnel and those appointed to protect the rights of defendants and victims alike.
“After decades of dictatorship and illegality, we look forward Libya living by the principles and ideals for which the revolution was fought so that she may rejoin fully the community of nations that aspire to live by the rule of law”.
For further information, contact Alison Smith on asmith@npwj.org or +32-2-548-3912 or Nicola Giovannini on ngiovannini@npwj.org or +32-2-548-3915.