April 14, 2014 - 13:59 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Libyan prosecutors opened the trial of deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi's sons and former regime officials on Monday, April 14, in a major test for the North African state's transition to a democracy, Reuters reported.
Neither Saadi Gaddafi or Saif al-Islam were in the courtroom at Tripoli's Al-Hadba prison, but Gaddafi's ex-spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi was among the former officials sitting behind a fenced-off section, according to the report.
Chief investigator in the case, Sidiq al-Sour, said Saadi would not appear in court on Monday, because investigations were still ongoing, but procedures would continue against the others.
"Saadi will not be showing up today, and they will take a decision on Saif al-Islam on whether his case will be an open or closed session," he told Reuters by telephone.
Saif al-Islam, long viewed as Gaddafi's heir and still held by a group of former rebels in western Libya, was expected to appear by video-link inside the courtroom.
Post-Gaddafi Libya has so far been defined by a weak interim government and growing unrest as former revolutionary fighters refuse to give up their weapons, and armed protesters blockade the country's crucial oil exports.
The trial began a day after interim Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni announced his resignation after an attack on his family and following the ousting of the previous prime minister barely a month ago.
Senussi was joined in the court by Gaddafi's former Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, and former Foreign Minister Abdul Ati al-Obeidi, Reuters said. Also in the court was ex-intelligence chief Buzeid Dorda, who had appeared at earlier trial proceedings.
The men face charges ranging from corruption to war crimes related to the deaths during the 2011 uprising, which expanded into a civil war that eventually ousted Gaddafi. The former Libyan leader was later killed after his capture.
The International Criminal Court and other human rights organizations are concerned over the fairness of Libya's justice system although the government won the right last year to try Gaddafi's former spy chief domestically instead of at the ICC.