UN rights office calls for investigation into Gaddafi killing

[JURIST] The UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] on Friday called for a full investigation into the killing [JURIST report] of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] in his hometown of Sirte on Thursday. Rupert Colville, the spokesman for UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] told reporters that there needs to be an investigation into whether Gaddafi was killed during fighting with the rebels or if this was an execution. The OHCHR's call for an investigation into the killing of Gaddafi comes amid contradictory accounts and uncertainty [Reuters report] about how exactly the killing of Gaddafi took place. Colville said that there are four or five versions of how he died but no clear conclusion has been reached. The first image taken of Gaddafi depicts him being captured alive, while the next one shows him dead. In the laws of war, there is a clear difference between someone being killed during combat and being summarily executed. The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions [official website] said that states need to respect international standards [press release] on the use of lethal force during an arrest [UN News Centre report]. Amnesty International (AI) [official website] on Friday also urged for an investigation into Gaddafi's death [press release]. AI stated that it would be a war crime if Gaddafi were deliberately killed after capture. There are several different accounts of what happened along with two videos of Gaddafi's death, but the factual account of the killing remains unclear.

Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril [official profile] confirmed at a press conference Thursday that Libyan opposition forces on captured and killed former leader Gaddafi. The cause of death is unknown, but eyewitnesses claim that he died from gunshot wounds. Also on Thursday, Libyan Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam confirmed the death of Gaddafi's son, Mutassim Gaddafi. Officials have also announced the arrests of Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and former Gaddafi spokesman Moussa Ibrahim, although later reports indicated that Saif al-Islam remains at large. Libyan civilians and National Transitional Council (NTC) [official website] officials celebrated the news of Gaddafi's death, and several world leaders expressed relief and support for Libya. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official profile] said the day marked "an historic transition" for the country and urged Libyans to stop fighting and promote peace. Gaddafi's death marks the latest milestone in the Libya conflict [JURIST feature], which began in February [JURIST report] as part of a wider protest movement that had spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] published a 92-page report saying that Libyan authorities committed crimes against humanity [JURIST report] under Gaddafi's direct orders during the conflict.

 

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