Libya: we will bring Gaddafi's killers to justice
Published 28/10/2011 | 05:00
Libya's new rulers have said they will prosecute the killers of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi following an outcry over his apparent execution.
Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, the vice-chairman of the National Transitional Council (NTC), said whoever killed the former dictator would be "judged and given a fair trial".
His comments came as the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to end its mandate for international military action in Libya. Nato is now expected to declare an end to the seven-month air campaign which played a significant part in toppling Gaddafi.
The dictator's apparent execution at the hands of a mob soon after he was dragged from a drain where he had been cornered near his home city of Sirte has been denounced by the NTC's international backers.
Unease over his death was deepened by the lengthy public exhibition of his body and accusations that dozens of Gaddafi loyalist prisoners had been murdered by rebels in the days before Sirte fell.
Philip Hammond, Britain's defence secretary, has said the death had "stained" the reputation of Libya's fledgling interim government.
Mr Ghoga said: "With regards to Gaddafi, we do not wait for anybody to tell us. We had already launched an investigation. We have issued a code of ethics in handling prisoners of war. I am sure that was an individual act and not an act of the national army."
Mobile phone footage showed Gaddafi being beaten and tortured as jubilant rebels surrounded him. He died on his way to hospital of bullet wounds to his head and chest, according to a post-mortem examination.
Until now, the official NTC account has maintained that the dictator was killed in crossfire in fighting with loyalists after he was captured. But conflicting rebel accounts and mobile phone footage have instead identified several different men as Gaddafi's killer.
Fighters from the city of Misrata were the first to find Gaddafi and few have shown any sympathy for his death.
But Yassin Humaid, the commander of the Shuhada Square brigade, said: "I am happy Gaddafi is dead, but if the way he was killed was against human rights and the Geneva Convention, then they should go to court. We are with the law."
The UN voted to cancel its authorisation for military action on October 31 despite an NTC request that Nato continue operations until the end of the year to stop loyalists escaping to neighbouring countries.
William Hague, the British foreign secretary, said the decision was "another significant milestone towards a peaceful, democratic future for Libya".
The NTC had "a duty to uphold human rights and must prevent reprisals and revenge attacks" after Gaddafi's death.
Abdullah al-Senussi, Gaddafi's fugitive intelligence chief, had passed from Niger into Mali, security sources from both countries claimed.
Mr Senussi and Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, are both wanted by the International Criminal Court for their role in the repression of the uprising. An NTC source claimed Saif al-Islam had requested an aircraft to fly him from Libya to the Hague, where he intended to hand himself over to the ICC. (© Daily Telegraph, London)