Fearful Saif takes the first step in turning himself in

Gaddafi's best-known son has been having 'informal conversations' with ICC prosecutors

The prospect of Muammar Gaddafi's best-known son facing trial in The Hague for crimes against humanity suddenly increased last night with the revelation that he had been in touch with the International Criminal Court.

The ICC's chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, revealed there had been "informal conversations" with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who has been on the run since the Libyan regime fell in August, and whose father was killed last week, apparently trying to leave his home town of Sirte.

Abdel Majid Mlegta, a senior military official of Libya's National Transitional Council, said this week that Saif al-Islam and Abdullah al-Senussi, Muammar Gaddafi's former security chief and brother-in-law, wanted to surrender to the ICC because they felt unsafe. Both men are wanted in connection with the bombing and shooting of protesters when the revolt against the regime began in February.

There is no certainty about Saif al-Islam's whereabouts or condition, with conflicting reports that he is in Niger, Algeria or still in Libya and may be wounded. But an NTC source said that he wanted an aircraft to airlift him into ICC custody from the southern Libya desert.

Mr Ocampo said yesterday: "They are informal conversations. I think they are exploring the possibility to appear before the court... and if he considers himself innocent, he has the right to present this argument before the judges."

He added that once the court had received formal certification that Muammar Gaddafi was dead, the case against the dictator would be closed. But he said the case against Saif al-Islam and Mr al-Senussi was pressing because of evidence against them, including that "Saif was critically important in organising the killings of civilians in Libya".

Mr Ocampo said that if Saif was still in Libya, he could surrender to the interim government there. There were fears, however, that Saif al-Islam may be weighing up whether to flee to a friendly country which would not cooperate with the court. "We know he has a different option because apparently there is a group of mercenaries willing to move him to a country, probably Zimbabwe," Mr Ocampo said.

Amnesty International last night said the NTC had an obligation to ensure both Saif al-Islam and Mr al-Sanussi did not meet the same fate as the former's father and his brother Mutassim and should be allowed to stand trial at the ICC. Marek Marczynski, an Amnesty spokesman, said: "Investigating the men before the ICC offers an opportunity to ensure justice, truth and reparation for the victims of the crimes against humanity they are charged with committing against the Libyan people – justice that may have been denied if the unlawful killing of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is confirmed."

The African Union has criticised the ICC's preoccupation with Africa and has opposed the arrest warrant for President Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan, who has visited ICC member states, including Chad, without being arrested.

If Saif al-Islam does end up in the Hague, a public trial could be potentially embarrassing for European politicians, including members of Britain's previous Labour government. He could detail his contacts with the West during the period of rapprochement with the Gaddafi regime.

After Libya took responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing, renounced terrorism and ended its nuclear weapons programme, Saif al-Islam was viewed by some Western leaders as Libya's main hope for political and human rights reforms.

Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Support Technician (2nd Line / Server Support) - Bedford

£24000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: 2nd line IT Support Techn...


£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to have a b...

Year 3 Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 TeacherWould you like ...

Science Teacher

£100 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Are you a qualified science t...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments