Libya’s Leaders Unable to Free ICC Envoy
Libya’s National Transitional Council said that it was powerless to release the four International Criminal Court officials that were detained last week after visiting Saif al-Islam in Zintan. Despite demands from the ICC, the Australian government, human rights groups, and detained ICC lawyer Melinda Taylor’s husband for the officials’ immediate release on grounds of diplomatic immunity, the NTC said it could not secure the envoy’s freedom from the local militia that intends to hold the officials for 45 days. The deepening international crisis highlighted growing concerns over the power of militias throughout Libya and the enormous number of loose weapons stockpiles that remain in the country.
Meanwhile, Libya’s Supreme Court nullified a law passed at the start of May that banned glorification of slain leader Muammar Qaddafi or “harming the February 17 revolution.” Elham Saudi, director of Lawyers for Justice in Libya, applauded the ruling saying the decision “not only demonstrates the Court’s commitment to the protection of the fundamental right to freedom of expression but it marks a first and vital step towards instilling confidence in…the rule of law in Libya.”
Lindsey Hilsum writes that “Libya’s problems will be solved by more democracy, not less.” Ranj Alaaldin counters, suggesting that elections may not be enough to avert the potential for a Libyan civil war in light of the large number of rival militia forces that remain active in the country.