“The Libyan authorities conditioned the release on official apologies from the ICC for the incident. The ICC did exactly that, apologizing for its employees’ actions. I have to say that the ICC workers were detained by Libyan officials, not revolutionaries. It was the Prosecutor General who demanded their arrest for a detailed investigation of the matter. Our side explained to the ICC that the conduct of their employees was absolutely inadmissible because, being representatives of an international organization, they were not supposed to collect information and pass it on to other parties,” Muhammad al-Hreizi said.
“At the same time, we are not going to use this incident as a pretext for breaking ties with the ICC. Indeed, we are all set to maintain them because there are many loose ends here waiting to be tied up. For example, Libya demands the extradition of criminals who are now hiding abroad. Warrants for the arrest of some of them have already been issued by both the ICC and the Libyan authorities. That’s why we are going to continue our cooperation with the ICC.”
A source at the Prosecutor General’s office said that the released ICC employees – an Australian, a Russian, a Spaniard and a Lebanese – would stand trial in Tripoli on July 23.
“We hope they will show up for the hearing… If they don’t, then they will be tried in absentia,” he added.
The International Criminal Court thanked the Libyan authorities for the release of its workers.
“The ICC appreciated the Libyan authorities’ agreement to free our employees who will now be able to reunite with their families,” ICC president Sang-Hyun Song said.
The ICC employees were detained on June 7 in Zintan where they had come to see Seif al-Islam, the jailed son of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The Libyan authorities accused them of an “attempt to jeopardize the country’s security interests” by allegedly trying to pass to the prisoner an encrypted letter.
The detained ICC workers included Alexander Khodakov who served as the Russian ambassador in The Netherlands from 1998 to 2003, and has been a senior Court counselor since September 2011.
Moscow demanded the release of the ICC employees
Libya’s chief prosecutor Abdelaziz al-Hassadi was in The Hague on June 22 to discuss with the senior members of the ICC the arrest of the Court’s employees. ICC President Sang-Hyun Song assured him that the Court had no intention whatsoever to do anything that could be detrimental to Libya’s national security and promised to conduct an internal probe and punish those of its employees who would be found to have gone wrong.