Gadafy's killers will be tried, claims NTC

 

LIBYA’S INTERIM government says it will prosecute anyone found responsible for the death of Muammar Gadafy after his capture, in a retreat from its earlier insistence that the dictator had been killed by crossfire.

The change in position comes after a week of sustained criticism of the Libyan leader’s captors, who used their camera phones to chronicle his death. The footage, including images of a wounded Gadafy being sodomised with what looked like a bayonet, caused widespread revulsion outside the country.

Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, deputy chief of the National Transitional Council, said it would try to bring to justice anyone proven to have fired the shot to the head that killed Gadafy.

“With regards to Gadafy, we do not wait for anybody to tell us,” he told the al-Arabiya satellite channel. “We had already launched an investigation. We have issued a code of ethics in handling of prisoners of war. I am sure that was an individual act and not an act of revolutionaries or the national army. Whoever is responsible for that [Gadafy’s killing] will be judged and given a fair trial.”

Attempts to launch an investigation are unlikely to be welcomed in Misurata, where the rebels who captured Gadafy in his home town of Sirte are based.

Asked this week about the questions surrounding his death by people outside Libya, Misurata’s military chief, Ibrahim Beit al-Mal, said: “Why are they even asking this question? He was caught and he was killed. Would he have given us the same? Of course.”

Talk of an inquest was being seen by Misurata officials as an attempt by the Benghazi-dominated NTC to claim prominence in post-Gadafy affairs.

“Everybody knows who caught him and who fought the most during the past nine months,” an official said. “It was us. It was no one else.”

The identity of the man who allegedly pulled his 9mm pistol from his waistband and shot the wounded dictator in the left temple around 20 minutes after his capture is widely known in Misurata, as is the unit he belonged to, the Katiba Ghoran.

“They won’t come near us,” said the rebel who pulled Gadafy from a drain last Thursday. “They won’t dare. Gadafy was saying: ‘What’s this, what’s this?’ After nine months of blood, he was saying: ‘What’s this?’. What does he expect?” There is little sympathy on the streets of Misurata for Gadafy’s violent end, despite the troubling images and his rotting body being publicly displayed for the next four days.

Meanwhile, Gadafy son and former heir apparent Saif al-Islam is thought to be in southern Libya approaching the Niger border, where Nigerian officials believe he is planning to join his brother Saadi and the former regime’s spy chief Abdullah Senussi in exile.

The NTC maintains that Saif al-Islam is interested in handing himself in to the International Criminal Court, which has issued an arrest warrant against him and Senussi. The court in The Hague says it has had no contact from Libya.

The UN said yesterday it would terminate the Nato mandate enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya at the end of October, formally ending an eight-month blockade of the country’s skies and military operations on the ground. The NTC had earlier asked for operations to continue until the end of the year. – (Guardian service)