They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to the media.

The case has been a long-standing sore issue in Lebanon, where authorities blame Gaddafi and his aides for the disappearance of Imam Moussa al-Sadr and the imam's two companions during a trip to Libya in 1978.

Power struggle

Libya insists that al-Sadr and the two aides left its territory on a flight to Rome at the end of the visit and suggests the imam was a victim of an inter-Shia power struggle.

Despite a widely held belief in Lebanon that the three Shias were killed after a dispute with Gaddafi, the al-Sadr family strongly believes the imam is alive and remains in a Libyan jail.

But the judicial officials, acknowledged that the move is largely symbolic because it's unlikely Gaddafi would come to stand trial in Lebanon.

Initially, the officials only said the Lebanese judge was seeking a death sentence for Gaddafi, but clarified that the charges have been raised.

In 2004, relatives of al-Sadr and his companions filed a complaint with Lebanese judicial authorities against Gaddafi and 17 other Libyan officials.

That year, Lebanon's prosecutor-general ordered Gaddafi summoned for questioning about the al-Sadr case.

The Libyan leader never responded to the summons or showed up in Lebanon.

Gaddafi has also never officially visited Lebanon since al-Sadr's disappearance.