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Libya sets September trial date for Gaddafi's son

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.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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