ICC-LIBYA/BONINO: LIBYA MUST RELEASE DETAINED ICC STAFF IMMEDIATELY
Statement by Emma Bonino
Rome, 12 June 2012 - It is completely unacceptable that these four international officials, travelling on the official business of an independent, international judicial institution, have been detained. We call upon the Libyan authorities to release them immediately and unconditionally.
Libya pledged its cooperation with the International Criminal Court, which was given jurisdiction in Libya by a UN Security Council Resolution last year. To date, they have been cooperating through the judicial process, including challenging the ICC’s jurisdiction over Saif al-Islam through the proper channels. To turn around now and detain these four individuals – who should be protected by the privileges and immunities that ICC staff have while travelling on official business – casts a deep shadow over that pledge.
The most troubling aspect of this situation, from a rule of law perspective, is that the main target of the Libyan investigation is a lawyer appointed by the ICC to represent the interests of the accused, namely Saif al-Islam Gaddafi. Ms Taylor should never have been detained and the documents she is alleged to have been carrying should never have been searched in the first place. The documents being carried by ICC counsel are protected both by attorney-client privilege and by the privileges and immunities she and her documents enjoy by virtue of her being an ICC employee. The right of an accused person to interact freely and without hindrance with their lawyer is an internationally-protected basic human right and is a cornerstone of effective and fair justice.
These most recent actions call into question Libya’s willingness and capacity to cooperate with the ICC and provide adequate protection for due process for any trials that may be held in Libya, including safeguarding lawyer-client confidentiality. These are rights that Libya must protect if their claims over Saif al-Islam can be taken seriously.
Libya must immediately release the four ICC staff members who are currently in detention. Libya should also take steps to guarantee the free movement of ICC personnel in Libya, including protection of documents they are carrying, and restate their full cooperation with the ICC. Any further delay puts into question their willingness and ability to undertake genuine investigations and prosecutions themselves and ultimately only harms Libya. It is time for Libya to show after decades of dictatorship and illegality that she lives by the ideals for which the revolution was fought and that she has rejoined the community of nations that aspire to live by the rule of law.
Four staff members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) have been detained last week while in Libya to meet with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, a former senior official in the Libyan Government and son of former Libyan leader of Muammar Gaddafi, who is subject to an ICC arrest warrant for crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Libya since 15 February 2011. The four staff members, including Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor, have been detained reportedly while the Libyan authorities conduct an investigation into allegations that Ms Taylor was carrying a pen camera and attempting to give Saif a coded letter from his former right-hand man Mohammed Ismail, who is wanted by the Libyan authorities.
Members and contributors 2013
|Giuseppe R. Roma||590 €|
|Salvatore P. Capistrello||200 €|
|Giancarlo B. Torino||30 €|
|Marco B. Merano||20 €|
|Davide B. Prato||50 €|
|Giuseppe P. Grottammare||50 €|
|Maurizio T. Roma||1.000 €|
|Rosa A. Firenze||590 €|
|Giuliano G. Sondrio||590 €|
|Sergio Pasquale R. Cremona||500 €|
|Total SUM||326.746 €|