Libya Detains Four ICC Staff After Their Meeting With Saif Gaddafi

Editor’s Note:
It is critical that the recent media circus surrounding the detention of ICC staff not detract in any way from the immediacy of the plight of Saif Gaddafi.  If anything, these events reveal how vulnerable Saif is and how much he and all of Libya’s political prisoners need our support.  Please join in demanding Saif’s immediate and unconditional release.

We Demand Saif Al Islam Gaddafi’s Immediate Release

To understand the dynamics at work in this case, please read Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi And The “Behind The Scenes” Fight Over His Fate.

Alexandra Valiente
Libya 360°
Viva Libya!

OPCD Report On Saif Al Islam Gaddafi’s Situation In Libya.
Decision Appointing Counsel From The OPCD as Counsel For Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi
Urgent Action: Viva Libya Saif Al Islam Gaddafi File And Appeal

Four ICC staff members detained in Libya; Immediate release requested

ICC-CPI-20120609-PR805

Four staff members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) have been detained in Libya, since Thursday, 7 June. The ICC President, Judge Sang-Hyun Song, requests their immediate release: “We are very concerned about the safety of our staff in the absence of any contact with them. These four international civil servants have immunity when on an official ICC mission. I call on the Libyan authorities to immediately take all necessary measures to ensure their safety and security and to liberate them”. The ICC is communicating with the relevant authorities of Libya to ensure their release.

In accordance with the Pre-Trial Chamber I decision, dated 27 April 2012, the delegation traveled to Libya on Wednesday, 6 June, to meet with Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi in Zintan, in part as a privileged visit by the Office of Public Counsel for the Defence, currently appointed to represent Mr Gaddafi in the case brought against him. The delegation also included members of the ICC Registry with the view of discussing with Mr. Gaddafi the option to appoint counsel of his own choosing. Libya made a submission to the Pre-Trial Chamber ensuring that it would facilitate access to Mr Gaddafi by his lawyers. This agreement has been further confirmed during the contacts between the Libyan government and the ICC Registry.

In accordance with the unanimous resolution 1970 of the United Nations Security Council, which seized the ICC with the Libyan situation, Libya has the legal obligation to fully cooperate with the ICC, including the respect of the legal regime imposed by the Rome Statute which emphasizes the rights of the suspects to have privileged contacts with their lawyers.

The ICC hopes that the situation will be speedily resolved in the spirit of the cooperation that has existed between the Court and the Libyan authorities.

For further information, please contact Fadi El Abdallah, Spokesperson and Head of Public Affairs Unit, International Criminal Court, by telephone at: +31 (0)70 515-9152 or +31 (0)6 46448938 or by e-mail at: fadi.el-abdallah@icc-cpi.int.

Source

Libyan authorities have detained four members of the International Criminal Court’s staff who had gone to meet Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the ICC says.

ICC president Sang-Hyun Song urged Libya to immediately “liberate them”.

He said the civil servants had been held since Thursday 7 June.

Earlier reports said an ICC lawyer was being held under house arrest accused of trying to pass what were said to be dangerous documents to Saif al-Islam.

The delegation travelled to Libya on 6 June, to meet Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi in Zintan, “in part as a privileged visit by the Office of Public Counsel for the Defence, currently appointed to represent Mr Gaddafi in the case brought against him,” the ICC president said in a statement.

“We are very concerned about the safety of our staff in the absence of any contact with them,” the statement said.

“These four international civil servants have immunity when on an official ICC mission. I call on the Libyan authorities to immediately take all necessary measures to ensure their safety and security and to liberate them.”

‘Documents discovered’

Saif al-Islam, who was captured last November by militiamen as he tried to flee the country, has been indicted by the ICC for crimes against humanity.

Libya’s interim government has so far refused to hand over Saif al-Islam for trial in the Netherlands – seat of the ICC. Libya has insisted he should be tried by a Libyan court.

Members of the brigade holding Saif al-Islam say they discovered documents including a letter from a former confidante of his who is now in Egypt, the BBC’s Rana Jawad reports from Zintan.

The brigade commander said the transitional authorities in Tripoli had requested the release of the ICC officials, but they would remain in detention in Zintan – “where the crime has been committed” – pending an investigation by the attorney general’s office.

Reporters were shown the documents from a short distance, but were not allowed to view them in person, our correspondent says.

Those detained are reported to include an Australian lawyer, identified as Melinda Taylor.

Source

ICC lawyer meeting Gaddafi son detained in Libya

Ali Shuaib and Hadeel Al Shalchi

A delegation for the International Criminal Court has been detained in Libya after one of its lawyers was found to be carrying suspicious documents for Muammar Gaddafi’s captured son, a Libyan lawyer and a militia said on Saturday.

The Australian lawyer, named as Melinda Taylor, was part of a four-member ICC delegation that traveled to the small western mountain town of Zintan to meet Saif al-Islam, who has been held there since his desert capture in November.

The president of the international war crimes court said the four staff members had been detained since Thursday, and demanded their immediate release.

Reflecting Libya’s wider problem of powerful local militias and a weak central government, the brigade holding Gaddafi’s Western-educated son said it would not heed the government’s requests to release the four before questioning them.

Saif al-Islam is wanted by the ICC for crimes from last year’s war, but Tripoli wants to try him in his home country.

“During a visit (to Saif al-Islam), the lawyer tried to deliver documents to him, letters that represent a danger to the security of Libya,” said Ahmed al-Jehani, the Libyan lawyer in charge of the Saif al-Islam case on behalf of Libya, and who liaises between the government and The Hague-based ICC.

Jehani said the documents were from several people including Saif al-Islam’s former right-hand man Mohammed Ismail. He said blank documents signed by Saif al-Islam had also been found.

“She is not in jail. She is being detained in a guest house, her colleagues are with her,” he told Reuters. Asked whether she would be released soon, Jehani said: “I hope today.”

However in Zintan – a small town of 35,000 people – Alajmi Ali Ahmed al-Atiri, the head of the brigade which captured Saif al-Islam, said there were no such plans.

He said “spying and recording” materials had been found when members of the delegation were searched.

The ICC delegation traveled to Libya on Wednesday and had planned to meet Saif al-Islam in Zintan to discuss his defense arrangements, the court said in a statement late on Saturday.

“We are very concerned about the safety of our staff in the absence of any contact with them,” ICC President Judge Sang-Hyun Song said in a statement late on Saturday.

“These four international civil servants have immunity when on an official ICC mission. I call on the Libyan authorities to immediately take all necessary measures to ensure their safety and security and to liberate them.”

“TRICKED”

The ICC has previously expressed concern at the conditions under which Saif al-Islam is being held in Libya. Human rights groups have also questioned whether Libya’s justice system can meet the standards of international law.

Atiri said the ICC team had asked to meet alone with Saif al-Islam but the request had been declined.

“We tricked the ICC team by presenting them with one of our men who we told them was deaf and old and illiterate but he is actually a wise man who can speak four languages including English,” Atiri said.

“That is when we found out the lawyer had a letter written in English that they wanted him to sign admitting that there is no law in Libya and asking to be transferred to the ICC. When we searched the woman we found she had a letter from Mohammed Ismail for Saif and another one written back to Ismail.”

Atiri held up two of the documents, one of which he said was a letter from Ismail. He said Ismail’s letter had begun with an address that read “Saif al-Islam the joy maker”.

“They also took a number of empty papers with his signature on it, and he gave them a number of letters written by Saif for Mohammed Ismail,” he said. “Before the delegation entered the meeting with Saif, we inspected them and discovered spying and recording materials on one (member) of the delegation.”

Jehani said a pen with a camera and a watch with a recorder were found during the search.

Milad Abdel Nabi, Libya’s prosecutor-general in charge of the Saif al-Islam file, said investigations were continuing.

“The case is a homeland security issue … The lawyer should have presented the material to the prosecutor-general’s office before taking it into the suspect,” he said.

“Saif would only be allowed private meetings with a lawyer if he had appointed one for himself, but in this case the ICC appointed this lawyer for him and so has no right to sit with Saif privately.”

The ICC issued a warrant for Saif al-Islam last year after prosecutors accused him of involvement in the killing of protesters during the revolt that toppled his father.

In May, Libya filed a legal challenge, contesting the court’s right to try the case. The ICC ruled this month he could stay in detention in Libya while the court decides if it has the jurisdiction to try him.

Reuters

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