A Libyan court has indicted about 30 senior aides of late leader Muammar Gaddafi, including his son Saif al-Islam, for a raft of alleged offences during the 2011 revolt, prosecutors have said.

Thursday's indictment includes charges of murder, kidnapping, complicity in incitement to rape, plunder, sabotage, embezzlement of public funds and acts harmful to national unity.

"The court ordered they stand trial on the main charges against them dealing with the repression of the 2011 revolt," prosecutors' office spokesman Seddik al-Sour said after the hearing.

"The trial date will be set by the Tripoli criminal court."

Only a dozen of the accused appeared in the court, said a lawyer who was present at the hearing, held under tight security at a court and prison building in the Libyan capital.

Sour said the law did not require that the defendants all be in court to hear the indictment. He said that the fact that "some of the defendants would have needed exceptional security measures to appear prompted the court to decide to notify them of its decision after the hearing".

"But the presence of all the accused will be obligatory at the trial hearings before the criminal court," Sour said.

Saif al-Islam has been held by a militia group that captured him in the western mountain town of Zintan as he was fleeing to neighbouring Niger after rebel forces took Tripoli.

The most prominent of slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's sons, al-Islam last appeared in court on Spetember 19.

Source: Agencies