Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and dozens of former government officials have appeared in a Tripoli court to face charges ranging from war crimes to corruption.

According to Libya's official news agency, Saif al-Islam appeared via video-link for the trial from the western town of Zintan where he has been held since his capture by former rebels who refuse to hand him over to the capital.

The most prominent of Gaddafi's sons, Saif al-Islam was said to be smiling and looking confident during proceedings.

Muammar Gaddafi's former spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi was also among the former senior aides waiting in blue jumpsuits to hear charges against them.

The court session was adjourned to May 11 with the defendents facing a variety of charges including the killing of protesters during the 2011 civil war that led to Gaddafi's ouster.

Saif al-Islam was captured in Zintan as he was fleeing to neighbouring Niger after rebel forces took Tripoli.

In March, Niger extradited Saadi Gaddafi, the third son of the former Libyan leader, to Libya.

Since the Gaddafi's four-decade rule ended in 2011, Libya has struggled to establish basic institutions and rule of law with brigades of militias and former rebels challenging the authority of the weak central government.

Source: Agencies