ICC/Libya – Libya Must Immediately Release Detained ICC Staff

12 Jun, 2012 | Press Releases

Brussels, 12 June 2012

Four staff members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) were detained last week while 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 Niccolo’ Figa-Talamanca, Secretary-General, No Peace Without Justice:

“No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) is deeply concerned that these four international officials, travelling on the official business of an independent, international judicial institution, have been detained and their documents searched and seized. We call upon the Libyan authorities to release them immediately and unconditionally.

“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. Libya deserved the opportunity to show that it was willing and able 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. 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.

“The continued detention of ICC officials does not serve the national interest of Libya, as it calls into question the country’s willingness and ability to apply 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. After decades of dictatorship and illegality, Libya should live 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.

“We therefore call upon Libya immediately to release the four ICC staff members who are currently in detention. Libya should also take steps to guarantee the free movement of ICC personnel in Libya, including protection of documents they are carrying, and restate their full cooperation with the ICC. Any delay puts further into question Libya’s capacity to abide by international justice.”

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.