The Hague, June 26, 2012 (FH) – In a written statement released Friday evening, the International Criminal Court (ICC) apologized for “any events that may have given rise to concerns on the part of the Libyan authorities”. By doing so, the ICC is weakening the international justice system, Amnesty International said.

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Since June 7, 2012, four ICC staff members have been detained in Zintan, Libya, after having travelled to Libya on 6 June to meet with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who is wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Libya since 15 February 2011.

According to the Libyan militia in Zintan, Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor and her translator, Lebanese Helene Assaf, tried to give Saif al-Islam documents coming from his former right hand. They are charge with spying and threatening national security.

The ICC statement was released after a Libyan delegation led by Prosecutor general Abdelaziz Al-Hassadi met on June 22 the court’s president Sang-Huyn Song.

“The Court attaches great importance to the principle that its staff members, when carrying out their functions, should also respect national laws. The information reported by the Libyan authorities will be fully investigated in accordance with ICC procedures following the return of the four staff members”, the ICC declared after the meeting in an attempt to have its staff members released.

Amnesty International has launched an online petition, Release Aussie lawyer Melinda Taylor.  The Human Rights organization “considers their detention to be an attack against Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s rights and against the ICC, which is seeking to deliver justice to Libyan victims. The detention of the delegation risks intimidating anyone who is seeking to protect the defendant's rights to a fair trial”.

In an Oped published by the British daily Guardian, former prosecutor Richard Goldstone stressed that the detention of the ICC staff members was “quite clearly a violation of international law”, adding: “what is effectively an act of kidnapping also regrettably demonstrates that there is as yet no rule of law in Libya domestically. Ultimately, what has happened has justified the insistence by the ICC that Saif should be tried in the Hague".