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ICTY president concerned over detention of ICC staff in Libya, urges release

June 13, 2012, 22:30 UTC+3

One of the detainees is a Russian citizen. Moscow urged the Libyan government to speed up his release and the release of his colleagues

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THE HAGUE, June 13 (Itar-Tass) —— The President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Judge Theodor Meron, issued a statement on Wednesday, June 13, expressing his serious concern over the on-going detention of staff members of a sister criminal tribunal, the International Criminal Court (ICC), in Libya:

“The detention of ICC staff members on mission to Libya for over six days already is unacceptable, especially in light of the Libyan government’s legal obligation, under Resolution 1970 of the United Nations Security Council, to cooperate with the ICC and facilitate its mission in Libya. The visit of the four staff members had been ordered by an ICC Pre-Trial Chamber and that order should be fully respected. I wish to join the ICC President in urging the immediate release of the ICC staff members.”

The four staff members have been detained since June 7, 2012.

One of the detainees is a Russian citizen. Moscow urged the Libyan government to speed up his release and the release of his colleagues.

“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.

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

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.”

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