[JURIST] Saif al-Islam Gaddafi [JURIST news archive], the son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, will face trial in September, according to Libyan prosecutors. Although the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] has issued a warrant for his arrest for crimes against humanity, the militiamen who captured Saif al-Islam are insisting [BBC report] that he be tried in Zintan, Libya, the town where he has been held since last year. A spokesperson for Libyan prosecutors announced [Al Jazeera report] that the prosecutors have completed their investigation of Saif al-Islam’s alleged crimes and will soon approve a charge sheet. Saif al-Islam was considered a likely successor to his father before an uprising last year toppled Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. If convicted, Saif al-Islam could face the death penalty.
The dispute over who will try Saif al-Islam has soured relations between Libya and the ICC. Earlier this month Saif al-Islam said that he would prefer a trial in the ICC [JURIST report] because he felt he could not get a fair trial in Libya. In June 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.