A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

UN Security Council demands Libya release ICC envoys

The UN Security Council [official website] on Sunday demanded the immediate release [press release] of a group of four staff members from the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] detained in Libya earlier this month. The Security Council noted that Libya has a legal obligation under Resolution 1970 (2011) [PDF] to "cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor." Among the detainees is Melinda Taylor, an Australian lawyer working for the ICC. A representative for the Libyan courts said that Taylor and her colleagues attempted to smuggle documents [Radio Australia report] to Muammar Gaddafi's [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive] son Saif al-Islam from his former aide. The issue of which court is going to try al-Islam has been a point of contention between Libya and the ICC since he was captured [JURIST report] by Libyan rebel forces in November. Libyan authorities have reportedly refused to release [NYT report] Taylor, but have given two of the other three detainees permission to leave. The two freed staff members have allegedly chosen to stay in support of their fellow ICC employees. A judicial source in Libya has said authorities may continue to detain the ICC staff for up to 45 days [JURIST report].

The Presidents of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] this week joined the ICC in calling for the immediate release [JURIST report] of four staff members. The Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs reported that on Tuesday three officials from the ICC and the Australian ambassador to Libya were able to visit [JURIST report] and assess the condition of the four ICC staff members. A spokesperson for the ICC said earlier on Tuesday that the Libyan government had failed to explain [JURIST report] why the four ICC staff members were detained, and that their continued detention is a violation of international law. Earlier this month, a pre-trial chamber of the ICC granted a request by the Libyan government to postpone an order to transfer Saif al-Islam to ICC custody, after the Libyan government formally challenged [JURIST reports] the right of the ICC to try Saif al-Islam last month. In April, ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo asked the ICC to report Libya to the UN Security Council [JURIST report] for failing to turn over Saif al-Islam. Libya expressly denied [JURIST report] the ICC's request for such action and stated that Saif al-Islam will face trial within the country.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.