UN urges Libyans to free detained ICC staff

Four International Criminal Court staffers had gone to Libya to visit the imprisoned son of deposed dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Updated: Jun 16, 2012, 11:27 AM IST

New York: The UN Security Council has urged Libyan authorities to take action to immediately release four International Criminal Court staffers detained in Libya where they went to visit the imprisoned son of deposed dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The council expressed "serious concern" at the detention of the staff members. It emphasised that Libya is legally obligated under the UN resolution that authorised the court to investigate possible war crimes in the country "to cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the ICC”.

The council press statement urging "Libyan authorities at all levels and all concerned to work toward immediate release of all the ICC staff members" followed an appeal from ICC president Sang-Hyun Song.

Song, in a letter circulated yesterday, asked the council to urge Libyan authorities to immediately release the staff members.

He said that despite agreement by Libyan authorities to facilitate the ICC mission, the staffers have been held since June 07 in the western city of Zintan, where Seif al-Islam Gaddafi has been detained since militiamen from the city captured him in November.

On Wednesday, Libya`s government spokesman said an initial investigation showed the ICC team committed a "security breach”.
Libya`s prosecutor ruled that the team should be held for 45 days.

The Security Council had asked the ICC to launch an investigation of possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Libya in February 2011, at the start of the uprising that eventually toppled Muammar Gaddafi.

The ICC indicted Seif al-Islam along with his father and Gaddafi`s intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senoussi, accusing them of committing crimes against humanity by targeting civilians in a crackdown against rebels.

Al-Senoussi was arrested in March in Mauritainia and is being held there. The case against Muammar Gaddafi was dropped after he was captured and killed by rebels.