Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday urged the UN Security Council to comment on the recent detention of International Criminal Court staff in Libya, saying the actions of Libya’s authorities have violated a UN Security Council resolution.
Four International Criminal Court staff, including former Russian Ambassador to the Netherlands Alexander Khodakov and Australian defense lawyer Melinda Taylor, were detained in Libya on June 7. The group was taken during a visit to arrange the defense for slain dictator Muammar Gaddafi's detained son Seif al-Islam.
A source with the Libyan Prosecutor General’s Office said the ICC staff have been put in a pretrial detention facility for 45 days.
“The UN resolution is apparently being violated. We believe that the UN Security Council should provide its feedback on the case,” Lavrov said.
A commander with the Zintan brigade, the former rebel fighters who captured Seif al-Islam and are still holding him, said one of the lawyers with the group had been arrested after trying to pass a coded letter from Seif’s former henchman Mohammed Ismail.
Under international law, a country has the priority right to try people charged with crimes committed on its own soil. But the ICC indicted Seif al-Islam before the fall of his father's regime and cannot drop his case until it is convinced that Libya's new government will prosecute him for the same crimes – and that it is capable of giving him a fair trial.
Since Gaddafi's fall, Libya’s new government has struggled to impose its authority throughout the country. Cities, towns, regions, militant groups and tribes all act on their own, establishing independent power centers.
“Libya’s central power needs strengthening. This has not happened yet and foreign citizens…experience the negative influence of this situation,” Lavrov said.