The court’s chief prosecutor confirmed that Saif, who has been on the run since his family’s hometown of Sirte fell and his father was killed, has made “informal contact” with the court.

“Through intermediaries, we have informal contact with Saif. The office of the prosecutor has made it clear that if he surrenders to the ICC, he has the right to be heard in court, he is innocent until proven guilty. The judges will decide,” prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said.

He did not confirm the intermediaries and admitted the court do not know where Saif is hiding.

Moreno-Ocampo also said Gaddafi’s son will “have all the rights and be protected,” under law and will have the opportunity to launch a defence.

Saif al-Islam is wanted for crimes against humanity in Libya, including murder and persecution during the government’s crackdown on anti-government demonstrations in February.

“We believe we have a strong case,” the prosecutor told CNN. “We believe he should be convicted.”

Moreno-Ocampo went on to say “there is a group of mercenaries who are offering to move Saif to an African (country) not party to the Rome Statute of the ICC. The Office of the Prosecutor is also exploring the possibility to intercept any plane within the air space of a state party in order to make an arrest,” he said.

By law, countries not party to the Rome Statute do not have to hand over suspects.

Saif is reportedly hiding near the Libya/Niger border.