The son of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi says neither he nor his father ordered the killing of civilian protesters - as prosecutors at an international tribunal have charged.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said protesters died when they tried to storm military sites and guards fired on them under standing orders to protect themselves.
In an interview for Russian news channel RT posted online he also accused Western nations of intervening in Libya because they are after the country's oil and other resources.
He says their goal is "to control Libya".
The International Criminal Court has issued warrants for the Libyan leader, Saif al-Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanoussi on charges of crimes against humanity.
Documents from the International Criminal Court outline multiple instances in which the tribunal prosecutors allege government troops fired on civilian protesters during anti-Gaddafi street demonstrations earlier this year.
The younger Gaddafi had once been viewed as a reformer by the West and was being groomed as a possible successor to his father.
Saif al-Islam wore a thick beard and traditional clothes in the interview. He denounced the international court seeking his arrest as controlled by the Nato countries now bombing Libya.
"This court is a Mickey Mouse court ... For me to be responsible for killing people, it was a big joke," he told the Russian state-funded network.
The three are accused of orchestrating the killing, injuring, arrest and imprisonment of hundreds of civilians during the first 12 days of an uprising and for trying to cover up their alleged crimes.
Presiding Judge Sanji Monageng of Botswana has said that hundreds of civilians were killed, injured or arrested in the crackdown, and there were "reasonable grounds to believe" that Gaddafi and his son were both responsible for their murder and persecution.
But Saif al-Islam denied that he and his father specifically ordered protesters to be killed.
"Of course not," he said, arguing that government troops fired on protesters out of self-defence.
"Nobody ordered. Nobody. The guards fired. That's it. ... The guards were surprised by the attacking people and they start ... firing. They don't need an order to defend themselves," he said.
Libyan rebels began their uprising against Gaddafi in February. They swiftly managed to secure a number of military arms depots, and have turned those weapons on forces still loyal to the Libyan leader, who has been in power since 1969.
The conflict has turned into a civil war, with the rebels now controlling much of the eastern third of Libya. They also hold pockets in the west, including the vital port city of Misrata.
A coalition including France, Britain and the United States began striking Gaddafi's forces under a United Nations resolution to protect civilians on March 19, giving the rebels air support.
In the interview, Saif al-Islam accused Western nations of intervening in Libya because they are after the country's oil and other resources. He said the goal is "to control Libya," and he vowed to fight on.
"Nobody will give up. Nobody will raise the white flag," he said. "We want peace, but if you want to fight, we are not cowards. ... We are going to fight."
Earlier, the French-2 network aired an interview with Muammar Gaddafi's daughter Aicha, who said her father's government is in direct and indirect negotiations with Libyan rebels.
She didn't elaborate, but said that to end the spilling of Libyan blood "we are ready to ally ourselves with the devil, with the rebel army."Reuse content