TONY EASTLEY: The Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, believes detained Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor will be freed soon but can't say exactly when.
Last night Senator Carr flew to Tripoli to see the Libyan Prime Minister and the Deputy Foreign Minister. He says if the ICC formally apologises to the Libyan Government about the way it went about its work, Belinda Taylor and her colleagues will be released from detention.
Authorities say Ms Taylor allegedly passed documents to the son of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
After his meetings in Tripoli, Senator Carr spoke to AM's Alexandra Kirk.
BOB CARR: I accept absolutely the goodwill of the leadership and I believe that they want the detainees released. There is no advantage for them in continuing to hold the four detainees, or employees of the International Criminal Court.
What would help - and here I'm coming to a proposal I'm putting to the ICC - is a form of words from the ICC that expresses regret, even apology, about approaches to this very fraught justice question which weren't preceded by agreement on protocol and conventions.
I believe that it would have been far better for the ICC to have settled with the government of Libya on the procedure before they sent Melinda Taylor and her colleagues into Zintan.
REPORTER: In other words they, what, rode roughshod over the processes in Libya?
BOB CARR: Oh, I wouldn't wor... use words as harsh as that. They had a job to do. They sent a team down here to do it but they sent a team into a very fraught political situation. And there is a Libyan perception that something wrong was done in the process of the team talking to Mr Gaddafi.
I think we've got to get over that hurdle and I believe if the ICC offers a form of words then there's little doubt about the national government in Libya and their desire to get beyond what to them is an embarrassment; that is, the detaining of people doing a job for the ICC.
REPORTER: Is the ICC willing to apologise to the Libyan Government?
BOB CARR: I've just had a meeting with ICC people here, and I'll be raising the matter with Judge Song, the head of the ICC. I believe that, certainly based on what I heard from the team, they've already used words in talking in Zintan to officials of the government that [indistinct] will go that distance.
REPORTER: Has Melinda Taylor been accused of spying?
BOB CARR: Look, I don't want to enter the language and the charges and the allegations in the defence as I'm not in a position to do that. I spoke to the ICC lawyers who were there when all four of the detainees were interviewed by the prosecutor. They fully cooperated. I believe that we're pretty close to be being able to say that the judicial investigation is complete. That would open the way to a release of the detainees, which is what we Australians want for so much when it comes to Melinda Taylor.
I've offered Australia's facilitation in interaction between the Libyan Government and the Court, and I've offered assistance in seeing that the Libyan concerns and perspectives can be taken into account in respect of the criminal proceedings underway in Libya.
REPORTER: So you're offering to act as an intermediary.
BOB CARR: I'm happy to have Australia act as an intermediary to see that the concerns of what is a democratic leadership at the head of the Transitional Council in Libya, in particular their Prime Minister, their Foreign Minister, their Deputy Prime Minister, that their concerns are reflected in ICC procedures and practices and protocols when it comes to what is an extremely emotional case inside this country, namely the treatment of the person who is now the embodiment of the dictatorship that oppressed and exploited people of Libya for so many decades.
REPORTER: How quickly do you think Melinda Taylor and her colleagues could be released?
BOB CARR: Too many imponderables to settle on a timetable or to place timing on the road map, but I think we've got a road map in place and there is goodwill from the Prime Minister of Libya, remarkable goodwill.
I think the judicial investigation being carried out by the Prosecutor General is complete. If that's [indistinct] then I think all we need is a satisfactory concession by the ICC and their people will be allowed to leave the country.
REPORTER: The ICC would then, what, vacate the field and allow Libya to continue to prosecute Gaddafi's son?
BOB CARR: No, all we'd says is that beyond that point the ICC and the Libyans would talk about protocols for continued ICC work. They'd talk about how the responsibility for prosecution is shared between both entities.
TONY EASTLEY: The Foreign Minister Bob Carr, speaking to Alexandra Kirk before he left Tripoli after the meetings he held there.
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