Carr seeks release of ICC lawyers detained after Libya meeting

Carr is expected to seek the release of the International Criminal Court delegation – including Australian Melinda Taylor and colleagues from Lebanon, Russia and Spain – who were detained on June 7 as they helped Seif al-Islam choose a defence lawyer.
“I’ve got modest expectations, but I’m here to press the case of the Australian government,” Carr told ABC radio on arrival, according to a transcript released by the Australian consulate in Tripoli.
“Melinda Taylor was here working for a respected international organisation – the International Criminal Court – that work attracts immunity. That role ought to be respected,” he said.
Shortly after landing in the capital, Carr met interim Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib and was also due to meet other senior government officials, Kib’s office said.
Libyan officials have alleged that Taylor was carrying a pen camera and attempted to give Seif a coded letter from his former right-hand man, Mohammed Ismail, who is on the run.
Carr, who did not comment on the allegations, said he would push for greater consular access and for Taylor to have the capacity to get in touch with her relatives while the issue is being resolved.
“We’d like [Ambassador] David Ritchie to be able to to see Melinda Taylor more regularly. We’d like her to be able to phone her husband Geoff in The Hague … and her parents, John and Janelle, in Brisbane.”
“I’m going to continue to press that with the people I meet here and I hope that by underlining that on this visit we get some progress out of it … Progress is to see her judiciously released… But in the shorter term, if she’s going to continue in detention, we see that she’s got that consular access and capacity to phone her family.”
The ICC wants to try Seif (39) for crimes against humanity during his father’s rule. Tripoli insists he should be tried locally and filed on May 1 a motion challenging the ICC’s jurisdiction to put him on trial in The Hague.
Carr said Taylor inadvertently got caught up in that dispute.
“There is a broader well-rehearsed dispute here and that is the dispute that Melinda Taylor has inadvertently become involved in.
“She is doing her duty for the ICC, but the Libyan authorities and none more than the authorities in Zintan, are contesting the right of the ICC to do that,” he said.
Seif has been held in the town of Zintan, 70km south-west of Tripoli, since his arrest on November 19 last year. Taylor and her team are being held in the same town.
On Friday, the UN Security Council expressed “serious concern” over Libya’s detention of the four.
It reminded the Libyan authorities that they have to cooperate with the ICC under UN resolutions on the conflict last year that led to Gaddafi’s overthrow. – Sapa-AFP

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


‘My biggest fear was getting the virus and dying in...

South African Wuhan evacuee speaks about his nine-week ordeal

Border walls don’t stop viruses, but a blanket amnesty might

Why South Africa should consider amnesty for undocumented migrants in the time of the coronavirus outbreak.

Mail & Guardian needs your help

Our job is to help give you the information we all need to participate in building this country, while holding those in power to account. But now the power to help us keep doing that is in your hands

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories