Sailf al-Islam Gaddafi, who is currently awaiting trial in Libya, refuses to appoint Libyan lawyer to defend him
Sailf al-Islam Gaddafi, who is currently awaiting trial in Libya, refuses to appoint Libyan lawyer to defend him

Sailf al-Islam Gaddafi, who is currently awaiting trial in Libya, refuses to appoint a Libyan lawyer to defend him, a top Libyan diplomat said.

The son of the late former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is set to be tried in Libya following his role in the 2011 uprising that led to the overthrow and death of his father.

Despite facing accusations of murder and torture, Gaddafi's son appears to be refusing to appoint a lawyer to defend him.

"This matter has mainly got to do with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who until now refuses appointing an attorney to defend him. Hence the matter is not in the hands of the Libyan authorities but rather the defendant himself, but there are no obstacles towards hiring an attorney to defend him," Libyan deputy UN ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi told the UN security council.

Libya said earlier this month it would soon complete the investigation into Gadaffi.

The country and the International Criminal Court (ICC) are involved in a dispute over where Gadaffi should be tried. While the ICC calls for him to be transferred and tried at The Hague, Libya says he should be tried in his home country.

In recent weeks, international rights groups have questioned the ability of the Libyan judiciary to ensure a fair and impartial trial that meets the standards of International law.

Human Rights Watch's justice director Richard Dicker said the organisation has "serious concerns" about the conditions in which Gadaffi might be tried in Libya.

"We did see him, months ago. We do not know if he's been afforded access to a lawyer since," Dicker explained.

"So we have real concerns about the situation and conditions in Libya and whether that will lead to a fair and impartial trial.

"It would be a loss for the Libyan people, first and foremost, to have a kind of rerun of the proceedings meted out for Saddam Hussein in Iraq, where no accountability is fairly established," he added.

Dabbashi said that under Libyan law, Gaddafi cannot stand trial without a lawyer.

"I would like to assure the council and everyone that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi will have an attorney because Libyan law does not permit the trying of any defendant in criminal cases unless with the presence of a defence attorney," Dabbashi said.

Libya is now expected to clearly outline to the ICC how it intends to try Gaddafi before the courts conclude whether or not the country should try him.

If the ICC decides it has jurisdiction over the case and Libya still refuses to cooperate, the international tribunal could refer Libya to the UN security council.