Saif al-Islam Gaddafi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], the son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive] has said that he believes he should be tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website; JURIST backgrounder], according to a court document filed Tuesday. Saif al-Islam has said that while he would prefer to be tried in Libya, he does not believe the current government can provide a fair trial, saying he believes the government would attempt to intimidate witnesses [AFP report]. Earlier this month, an ICC staff member expressed concern [JURIST report] about Libya's ability to hold a fair trial for Saif al-Islam. The issue of which court is going to try Saif al-Islam has been in dispute since he was captured [JURIST report] by Libyan rebel forces in November. Libya expressly denied [JURIST report] an ICC request to turn over Saif al-Islam, saying that he will face trial within the country. A judge for the ICC postponed a court order to transfer custody after Libya formally challenged [JURIST reports] the international court's jurisdiction over Saif al-Islam.
The dispute over who will try Saif al-Islam has soured relations between Libya and the ICC. Last month, four ICC staff members who traveled to Libya to speak with Saif al-Islam were detained [JURIST report] by Libyan security forces. They were in custody for nearly four weeks. Upon her release [JURIST report], ICC lawyer Melinda Taylor said she did not believe Saif al-Islam would receive a fair trial in the country. Three officials from the ICC and the Australian ambassador to Libya were able to visit [JURIST report] and assess the condition of the four detained ICC staff members after their detention. A judicial source in Libya told reporters shortly after their detention that the four could remain in "preventative" detention [JURIST report] for 45 days while an investigation is conducted. The four staff members were detained after Taylor was accused of attempting to give documents to Saif al-Islam that were from his former aid, Mohammed Ismail, who has been in hiding since the Libyan conflict [JURIST backgrounder] began.