Geneva – TheHigh Commissioner for Human Rights called on Friday for an inquiry into the death of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi amid conflicting accounts of how the Libyan dictator met his end and video that appeared to show him alive after his capture.
“We believe there is a need for investigation to see whether he was killed in fighting or some form of execution,” Rupert Colville, the spokesman for Navi Pillay, the human rights commissioner, told reporters in Geneva.
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Libya’s interim prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril, said that Colonel Qaddafi was wounded but still alive when he was captured and put on a truck in the town of Surt on Thursday. The vehicle was caught in cross-fire between Qaddafi loyalists and the attacking forces, Mr. Jibril said, and Colonel Qaddafi was struck in the head by a bullet, dying shortly before reaching a hospital.
But video and photographs that appeared on the Internet soon after Colonel Qaddafi was captured show him alive and propped between his captors, while others showed the body of the deposed leader being dragged by a crowd, covered in blood and apparently dead.
The existence of videos showing Colonel Qaddafi first alive and then dead was “very disturbing,” Mr. Colville said. “We really do need some clarity.”
Mr. Colville said the thousands of victims of Colonel Qaddafi’s tyrannical rule also deserved to see proper judicial procedures that bring to the light the truth of what occurred under the dictator’s 42-year rule, end the culture of impunity that existed and provide reparations for victims. It is “imperative,” he said, that Libya’s new rulers do everything possible to calm the situation.
In a telephone interview, Mr. Colville said that the independent Commission of Inquiry for Libya, set up by the United Nations Human Rights Council, would likely look into Colonel Qaddafi’s death. “This obviously falls squarely within their mandate,” he said. The commission is led by Judge Philippe Kirsch, the former president of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
“In the laws of war there is an obvious difference between someone killed in combat or crossfire, or a captive being executed or summarily shot down,” he said.