The pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Friday rejected [decision, PDF] a challenge by the Libyan government to the court's jurisdiction over Saif al-Islam Gaddafi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], the son of Libya's deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive]. The ICC ordered the Libyan government to turn over Saif al-Islam, who is currently being held in Zintan, Libya, where he is facing war crimes charges in a Libyan court. The ICC's decision dismisses a challenge [JURIST report] filed by the Libyan government last year claiming the ICC did not have jurisdiction over the case. The court's decision on Friday found that the Libyan judicial system was not prepared to handle Saif al-Islam's trial, and thus jurisdiction falls to the ICC. The Libyan government may appeal the ICC ruling.
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 2011. Saif al-Islam first appeared in court [JURIST report] in Zintan in January. Libya has continued to refuse to hand over [JURIST report] the accused war criminal to the ICC. In October 2012 Libyan government lawyers urged [JURIST report] the ICC to allow Libya to try Saif al-Islam as well as former Gaddafi intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, promising fair trials. In August of that year Saif al-Islam stated that he preferred to be tried by the ICC [JURIST report] out of fear that Libya would not try him fairly. In June four ICC staff members who traveled to Libya to speak with Saif al-Islam were detained [JURIST report] by Libyan security forces and were in custody for nearly four weeks before being released.