The Libyan government on Monday released four International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] staff members who had been detained for nearly four weeks. The release was announced [BBC report] while the ICC's president, Sang-Hyun Song, was visiting the country. The prosecution's office confirmed the release and noted that a hearing in their cases is expected on July 23. It added that the four staff members are expected at the hearing, but, even if that is not the case, a verdict will be issued in absentia. The release announcement came two weeks after the Libyan government started its investigation [JURIST report] of ICC staff members. They had been accused of spying and attempting to smuggle documents to the son of Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive], Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, from his former aide.
Libya's detention of the ICC's staff members had sparked several complaints and demands by the international communities. In June, the UN Security Council [official website] had demanded [JURIST report] the immediate release of the four staff members noting that Libya has a legal obligation under Resolution 1970(2011) [PDF] to "cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor." The presidents of two UN-backed courts the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official websites] echoed [JURIST report] the Council's demand by calling the detention "unacceptable" and "deplorable." The ICC had criticized [JURIST report] the Libyan government for not explaining the reason for its staff members' detention, alleging that it was violating international law.