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African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

Press release on the detention of four staff members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Libya

The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa (Special Rapporteur) is following with great interest the situation of four staff members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) who are members of the defence team of Seif Al-Islam who was issued an arrest warrant by the ICC for crimes against humanity committed during the revolt that led to the fall of the Muammar Gaddafi regime in 2011;

The Special Rapporteur is deeply concerned about the detention of counsel Melinda Taylor, her interpreter, Helen Assaf, and two staff members of the ICC Registry, Alexandre Khodakov and Esteban Peralta Losilla, who have been detained since 7 June 2012 while on an official mission as part of their function as defence team of Mr. Seif Al-Islam;

The Special Rapporteur is further concerned by the non-compliance by Libyan authorities with UN Security Council Resolution 1970 which decided, in accordance with Article 15(b) of the Rome Statute to refer the Libyan situation to the Prosecutor of the ICC to investigate crimes committed in the country since February 2011;

The Special Rapporteur underscores that the rights of an accused include the right to choose a counsel and to communicate freely with the latter, and considers the situation to be a violation of the right to a fair trial and an obstacle to the rule of law;

The Special Rapporteur strongly condemns the detention, which she considers to be unlawful, of the four ICC staff members in Libyan territory while preparing the defence of an African citizen and doing so in conformity with universally accepted rules and principles adhered to by Libya;

The Special Rapporteur urges the Government of Libya to take all necessary measures for the immediate and unconditional release of the four ICC staff members detained in its territory;

The Special Rapporteur calls on Libyan authorities to ensure the security of the four ICC staff members and take all necessary measures to facilitate their mission in the country;

The Special Rapporteur urges the Libyan Government to respect its obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1970 and cooperate with the ICC;

The Special Rapporteur reminds the Libyan Government of its obligations regarding the right of individuals to a fair trial as provided for in Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, as well as all other international human rights legal instruments ratified by Libya.