Moscow hails Libya's release of Intl Criminal Court officials

Moscow has hailed Monday's release in Libya of four International Criminal Court officials, including a Russian national, who were arrested a month ago on suspicion of spying.

"We expect that the further Libyan procedures in respect of the ICC delegation will strictly comply with international law, including Resolution 1970 of the UN Security Council," Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The heads of the diplomatic missions of Russia, Spain, Lebanon, Australia, Italy and the Netherlands and ICC President Sang-Hyun Song were invited to the town of Zintan to hear an announcement about the decision made by the Libyan side. Libyan representatives announced officially that the decision to release the four ICC members of staff was a goodwill gesture confirming the allegiance of new Libya to international rules and laws. It was also pointed out that a court hearing was set for July 23 of this year at which the final ruling would be announced in the absence of the accused," the statement said.

"All the detained ICC members of staff were handed over to the heads of the diplomatic missions of their countries. At 9 p.m. on the same day, the released delegates and the ICC president left Tripoli for Rome," it said.

Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor and Lebanese translator Helene Assaf were detained in Zintan on June 7 on suspicion of trying to pass documents to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of overthrown Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Two men who were accompanying Taylor and Assaf decided to stay with the detainees. One of the men, Alexander Khodakov, is a former Russian ambassador to the Netherlands.

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