Trial plans uncertain months after capture of Gadhafi's son

Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, pictured on February 26, 2011

Story highlights

  • Saif al-Islam Gadhafi will be taken to court in Tripoli soon, an NTC member says
  • ICC judges have not decided where a trial would be held, a spokesman says
  • Libyan officials have responded to the ICC's questions about Gadhafi, the court says
  • Gadhafi has been held in the Libyan city of Zintan since his November capture

Conflicting reports emerged Monday about whether the son of Libya's deposed leader would be tried there.

A member of Libya's National Transitional Council said Saif al-Islam Gadhafi would be taken to a court in Tripoli soon, but a spokesman for the International Criminal Court said judges had not decided where a trial would be held.

"The ICC judges have not made any decisions regarding this case," spokesman Fadi el-Abdallah said.

El-Abdallah said Libyan authorities have not filed a challenge to the admissibility of the case in the international court -- a step they would need to take before ICC judges can decide where the trial should be held.

But Mohammed al-Sayeh, a member of the interim council governing Libya, said Monday that the ICC had agreed that Gadhafi could be tried in Libya.

"Soon he will be taken to Tripoli to attend the court," al-Sayeh said. "It is not decided whether he will be taken to a jail in Tripoli or just go to Tripoli just for the hearing."

The late Moammar Gadhafi's son, once seen as his heir apparent, was captured in November after the fall of his father's regime in August. He is being held in the Libyan city of Zintan.

He was facing an arrest warrant from the ICC at the time of his capture.

The ICC initially demanded that Libya hand over Gadhafi for trial after his capture, but then opened the possibility that he could be tried in Libya.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said on a visit to Tripoli that Libya had the "right" to try him if it could prove it could do so fairly. He said Libya could make its case to the ICC judges that they could try him, and the ICC judges would decide.

The ICC asked Libya last month whether Gadhafi was arrested because of the international warrant, if he was being held incommunicado, and if an ICC representative could meet him.

It also asked when and where a court-appointed expert could examine his physical and mental health, and whether and when they planned to hand him over to the court, giving Libya until January 23 to respond.

Libyan officials have submitted a confidential response to those questions, the ICC said in a statement Monday.

A Human Rights Watch official visited Gadhafi in December, the organization said.

Libyan government officials appear to be treating him well, and he "had no complaints about the physical conditions of his detention," the group said after being allowed to visit him for 30 minutes.

He should have immediate access to a lawyer, the group said December 21.

Gadhafi's main concern "was the lack of access to family and to a lawyer who can help his case. Saif al-Islam Gadhafi says he is getting good food and medical care," said Fred Abrahams of Human Rights Watch in a statement.