The Hague, July 5, 2012 (FH) – Libya's July 2 release of four detained International Criminal Court staff has not resolved any of the issues behind their original mission to visit Saif al Islam Gaddafi in prison in Zintan. The negotiations that led to their release have instead raised a number of concerns and are perceived to have weakened the ICC's position with regard to the Libyan authorities. Both the ICC and Tripoli want to try Gaddafi.

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Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor, designated by the ICC to represent Gaddafi, was arrested by Libyan authorities on June 7 along with her interpreter Hélène Assaf. She was accused of trying to pass sensitive documents to Gaddafi, who is accused of crimes against humanity by the ICC.

Two other ICC employees, Estaban Peralta and Alexander Kodakhov, sent to ask Gaddafi to designate a lawyer of his own choice, were also detained. The four were unable to complete their mission, owing to their arrest. ICC staff are supposed to benefit from immunity in the context of their work.

In the context of negotiations for the release of the four, ICC President Sang-Hyun Song promised to investigate and to sanction Melinda Taylor if there was evidence of misconduct. Asked about this, ICC spokesperson Fadi Abdallah said the Court has requested information from the Libyan authorities and will decide how to proceed once it has received that information.

Meanwhile Mishana Hosseinioun,a friend of Gaddafi who has been pushing for him to be able to contact his family and designate a lawyer of his choice, says his position is now more difficult than ever. “Now, under the circumstances, they have made it dangerous for anyone to represent him, even a local lawyer, ” she said over the phone.

Mareck Marczynski of Amnesty International agrees. “It has also undermined Saif Al Islam Gaddafi’s rights to an effective defence and delayed the ICC’s decision on the Libyan authorities'recent application to bring him to trial in Libyan courts,” said Marczynski.He also believes that Gaddafi will not get a fair trial if he is prosecutedin Libya.