Detained International Criminal Court Members Released in Libya

Detained International Criminal Court Members Released in Libya
# 03 July 2012 03:40 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. The Libyan authorities released on late Monday four International Criminal Court (ICC) staff members, including a Russian national, the ICC said on its website, APA reports quoting Ria Novosti.

Four ICC staff, including former Russian Ambassador to the Netherlands Alexander Khodakov and Australian defense lawyer Melinda Taylor, were detained in Libya’s city of Zintan on June 7. The group was taken during a visit to arrange the defense for slain dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s detained son Seif al-Islam.

“The ICC is grateful to the Libyan authorities for their agreement today to release the Court’s staff members so that they can be reunited with their families,” ICC President, Judge Sang-Hyun Song, was quoted as saying.

The ICC said in a statement that all of the released ICC staff members safely landed at an airport in the Netherlands on early Tuesday morning.

A commander with the Zintan brigade, the former rebel fighters who captured Seif al-Islam and are still holding him, said earlier that one of the lawyers with the ICC had been arrested after trying to pass a coded letter from Seif’s former henchman Mohammed Ismail.

The International Criminal Court wants to handle the trial over al-Islam, accused of crimes against humanity, while Libyan interim government insists that he must stand the trial in his native country.

Seif al-Islam, 39, was arrested in mid-November in the south of Libya as he was attempting to cross the border with Niger and then he was taken to jail in Zintan.

Gaddafi’s regime was overthrown in October by opposition forces with NATO’s assistance after a seven-month civil war. Gaddafi, who had ruled the country for almost 42 years, was captured and killed by rebels near his home town of Sirte in late October.