In June of 2012 four International Criminal Court employees were sent on a court-ordered mission to meet with Saif Gaddafi, then under indictment at the ICC and imprisoned in a military compound in Zintan, Libya.
Immediately after the meeting with Mr. Gaddafi all four were arrested, charged with criminal conduct and imprisoned in the compound. The Libyan government claimed they were “spies.” The incident was widely reported in the international press at the time. Then-ICC President Sang-Hyung Song ultimately obtained their release 27 days after their arrests and confinement.
Helene Assaf, an ICC translator and participant in this mission, subsequently sought compensation from the ICC on a number of grounds relating to the court’s failure to competently organize the mission, its violation of its duty to protect its employees, and her mistreatment by the ICC Registrar after she filed her claim for compensation.
Yesterday the International Labor Organization Administrative Tribunal in Geneva ruled in Ms. Assaf’s favor, finding among many other matters that her ordeal in Libya was the direct result of the ICC’s failure to properly prepare the mission or ensure that appropriate security protocols were implemented. It concluded that the defamation to the four employees’ characters would have been mitigated if the ICC had issued a statement asserting their innocence immediately instead of waiting until the Libyan accusations had been widely publicized. It also found that Ms. Assaf was subjected to continuous mistreatment by the Registrar after her return from Libya, holding the Registrar’s behavior constituted an abuse of power, bad faith and retaliation.
The opinion, A v. ICC, ILOAT 126th Session, Judgement 4003, is attached.
Ms. Assaf was represented by ICLB founding member Colleen Rohan.
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