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Moscow urges Tripoli to release ICC officials

June 13, 2012, 21:09 UTC+3

Moscow urges the Libyan authorities to ensure the speediest release of Alexander Khodakov

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MOSCOW, June 13 (Itar-Tass) —— Moscow urged the Libyan government to speed up the release of all representatives of the International Criminal Court (ICC), one of whom is a Russian citizen.

“On June 12, representatives of the International Criminal Court, the ambassadors of Russia, Spain and Australia, and the Lebanese charge d’affaires in Libya succeeded in getting the permission to visit the ICC officials detained in the Libyan town of Zintain on June 7, one of whom is a citizen of Russia, Alexander Khodakov,” the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, June 13.

“The meeting took place on the Zintan ‘Abu Bakr al-Siddiq’ brigade’s premises, where the former Libyan leader's son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is being held in custody, in the presence of a Libyan deputy foreign minister and a representative of Zintan’s military administration,” the ministry said.

“It was confirmed during the meeting that initially Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor and her Lebanese interpreter Helen Assaf were detained, and that the Libyans have no claims on the Russian and the Spaniard. In a conversation with the Russian ambassador to Libya, Alexander Khodakov said that he had categorically refused to leave Zintan without his colleagues even though he had been asked to,” it said.

According to the information available to the Foreign Ministry, “the chairman of Libya’s National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, has urged the leadership of the Military Council to release the arrested persons. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is also expected to interfere to help settle the problem with the ICC officials.”

“Moscow urges the Libyan authorities to ensure the speediest release of Alexander Khodakov and all representatives of the ICC, especially since U.N. Security Council Resolution 1970 requires Libya to provide full cooperation with the International Criminal Court,” the ministry said.

Khodakov, a former Russian diplomat, used to head the Foreign Ministry’s Law Department and was Russia’s ambassador to the Netherlands.

“The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian Embassy in Tripoli, in coordination with representatives of other interested countries, will continue to exert all necessary efforts to this end,” it said.

By having detained International Criminal Court officials, the Libyan authorities violated the U.N. resolution, and this fact requires a reaction from the U.N. Security Council, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier in the day.

“The central government has yet to be strengthened in Libya. This has not happened so far and, as a result, this affects, by the way, foreign citizens in Libya, including Russians, be it specialists sentenced to unjustified terms of imprisonment or our official in the International Criminal Court who was detained even though U.N. Security Council Resolution 1940, if I am not mistaken, requires the Libyan authorities to cooperate with the International Criminal Court in full and observe all of its privileges and immunity,” Lavrov said.

“The resolution has obviously been violated. We think that the Security Council must react to this,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Russian Embassy in Tripoli, in coordination with the diplomatic missions of interested countries in Libya, is taking efforts in cooperation with the Libyan authorities towards the speediest release of the ICC officials.

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