Libya Tripoli Airport
A building on fire, which witnesses say was hit by a rocket, burns after clashes between rival militias in the Sarraj district in Tripoli. Reuters

On 13 September 2013, the slim, bearded Saif al-Islam Gaddafi faced a judge in a courtroom to hear the prosecutors' case against him. The second son of Libya's former dictator Muammar Gaddafi, wearing a blue prison uniform, stood or sat in a steel cage in the courtroom to listen to a numerous and open-ended charge sheet that included the ordering of, or incitement to commit, everything from vandalism to looting and killing during Libya's civil war in 2011.

These proceedings led Amnesty International to conclude that "Libya is not capable of ensuring (the defendant) be brought to justice through a fair trial" and therefore Mr Gaddafi should be sent to The Hague for trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The ICC had already brought charges against Mr Gaddafi with greater legal rigour and precision which highlighted his attempts to quell the uprising against his father between 15 February and at least 28 February 2011 and both the ICC and Amnesty International demanded that the Libyan Government comply and take action accordingly.

For its part, the Libyan government, at this point of time the General National Congress which had been elected in July 2012 and had taken over from the National Transitional Council, was in high dudgeon.

The real cause of their anger and frustration, was less that the judge had adjourned the original trial on lack of evidence, much more the fact that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was not facing justice under the Government's legal authority but was being put on trial by the Militia Court of the Abbu Baker al-Siddiq Brigade in the town of Zintan, some 85 miles southwest of the capital Tripoli, in the militia-controlled Nafusa Mountains.

As of this moment, although legal proceedings of sorts have taken place by video link with Tripoli, Mr Gaddafi is still incarcerated in Zintan with no sign of his captors handing him over to the ICC or any authority in Tripoli. Is this just a case of a militia group having more muscle than the government and proving a point?

Mr Gaddafi appears to being treated well by his captors and their justice seems no better or worse than might be expected if he were to be held in Tripoli. It would seem however that the Zintan militia have little or no trust in the government in the capital or wherever that body might be presently sitting. What government is left in Tripoli by the way? Or Tobruk, or anywhere else in Libya?! For sure, it is in a sorry state of affairs and could soon be changing nomenclature and locale again.

The General National Congress was formed after elections on 7 July 2012 in the hope that it would prove a vehicle for reconciliation, under the leadership of Mohammed Magariaf, a noted, and therefore brave, anti-corruption politician during the Colonel's dictatorship. When he was elected President he was leader of the National Front Party and both his past career and the small size of his political base forced him to resign after nine months in office. Looking at the structure of Congress, some might wonder that he lasted so long!

A parliament of 200 seats, the National Forces Alliance had come close to winning half the vote yet only held 39 out of 200 seats in Congress. This was largely due to the way Congress was structured with only 80 members being elected through direct proportional representation and 120 members deemed Independent as representing multiple-member districts.

The National Forces Alliance, describing itself as "liberal" and "democratic", though not secularist, its weakness surely was the fact that the party itself was/is a grand coalition of 58 political organisations.

As for Mr Magariaf's National Front, they had won the fourth highest vote with 4.1 per cent and three representatives in Congress. A further 19 other political parties by name were represented in one or two seats and there were 120 Independents.

One party, Al-Watan, "Homeland", though winning 3.45 per cent of the turnout were denied seats for being too closely linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and for demanding that Libya be placed under Sharia Law.

There were great hopes in August 2012 that this new government would soon be able to form a modern constitution and the BBC noted that despite continued fighting in parts of the country, Libya could celebrate its first peaceful transition of power, commenting that the country's last national vote had been in 1965 "when no political parties were allowed". Such a pity then that a question more and more being heard: Is Libya a Failed State?

On 29 August 2011, the eve of the fall of Ghadames to National Transitional Council (NTC) forces, many members of Colonel Gaddafi's family fled across the nearby border to Algeria. With virtually the whole of Tripoli under NTC control by 1 September, Russia recognised its legitimacy as the legal government of Libya and China followed suit on 12 September.

The victorious opposition to Gaddafi, comprised of some 1,700 militias with no unifying feature other than their desire to destroy the Colonel and his regime. Very few if any of these armed groups had any notion of democracy or wish to see such established and soon started fighting amongst themselves for territory and resources.

The Libyan Army has fought a number of these militias on several different fronts with little success, whilst at the same time these armed bands have fought each other. On 23 August 2014, fighters of the Libyan Central Shield, designated an Al-Qaeda linked terrorist group, with another similar group, the Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room (LROR), captured Tripoli International Airport after heavy fighting against the Zintan Brigade (which was friendly to the Government).

On 4 August 2014, a newly elected Council of Deputies took charge after the failure of the General National Congress to meet its constitutional duties. The turnout at the 25 June Election had been miserable – less than 20 per cent – due mainly to security concerns – but the undoubted losers were the Muslim Brotherhood and like supporters who had little electoral support.

Can't have that! The Brotherhood believe democracy is some evil plot of the West anyway. Let the country have two parliaments. Their armed militias, the Shield and LROR, having captured Tripoli International Airport now controlled the capital as well, forced the legitimate and recognised Council of Deputies/House of Representatives to Tobruk, whilst they, as the Justice and Construction Party, sit in the "national parliament" as the General National Congress.

Was this what Presidents Obama and Sarkozy and Prime Minister Cameron had in mind when they led the coalition that toppled the Colonel? I suppose it could be called democracy of a sort.