Gaddafi’s death ‘a war crime’: ICC searching for scapegoats

A National Transitional Countil (NTC) fighter points a gun at Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi in Sirte in this still image taken from video shot on October 20, 2011 and released on October 22, 2011 (Reuters / Reuters TV)
Some two months after the torturous death of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, the ICC finally “suspects” it was a war crime. A group of enthusiastic freedom fighters may end up convicted, but not those who made the killing possible, and actually benefited.

­The international court’s chief prosecutor says there were strong indications Muammar Gaddafi was killed in custody. The ICC says the great number of witness accounts and video taken at the moment when he was captured by rebel fighters show that he was beaten and abused by his captors.

"The death of Muammar Gaddafi is one of the issues to be clarified – what happened – because there are serious suspicions that it was a war crime," Luis Moreno Ocampo said on Thursday.

Moreno Ocampo said he asked Libya’s interim rulers what their plans were to investigate alleged war crimes by all parties, including the rebels.

But how many parties were really involved there, besides the rebels and pro-Gaddafi forces, and will the stake of the Western powers in setting off Libyan revolution be investigated? Many believe that NATO deliberately gave a blind eye to the violations of international law, and thus also bears some responsibility.

Political analyst Adrian Salbuchi believes that Gaddafi’s killing was the main goal of the Western coalition from the very beginning. He said that the US, France, Britain and NATO should be held accountable for the massacre and posited that the West “supported the worst terrorists” in Libya.

“Probably because in the White House and Palais de l'Élysée in France, and at 10 Downing Street, we also have very high-class terrorists and mafias running those countries and the better part of the world,” he added.

Since Gaddafi’s killing, every self-respecting human rights organization has voiced its opinion and urged Libyan authorities and the ICC to carry out a full, independent and impartial inquiry to establish the circumstances of the colonel's death, captured on the video.

“The pictures, they tell the story,” Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar told RT. “Until October last year there was nothing wrong with Gaddafi… From the point of view of the US, Gaddafi was the perfect ally.”

After the Gaddafi issue was – well – settled, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed quite clearly how the model of the new world order would work henceforth. “We came, we saw, he died,” she said, and then started laughing.

The comments by Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Luis Moreno Ocampo came a day after the former Libyan leader’s daughter, Aisha Gaddafi, called on the ICC to investigate the death of her father and brother Mutassim at the hands of Libyan fighters.

Moreno Ocampo said the National Transitional Council (NTC) was asked to inform them of their investigative plans before January 10.

Under international pressure, the NTC promised to investigate how Gaddafi and his son Mutassim were killed. However, the ICC would step in if Libyan authorities were unwilling or unable to act, Ocampo assured. Therefore, what the ICC does on Gaddafi's death and other war crimes will depend on what Libya's interim government does.

As for Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam and former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senoussi, captured by Libyan fighters, ICC calls for the NTC to put them on a fair trial.

Ocampo said the Libyan authorities explained why it was "very important" to prosecute Saif al-Islam themselves. The reasons voiced were that “he is ‘the face of the old regime’" and "they would like to show they can do better than with Muammar" – which is a plausible initiative indeed.

After Saif al-Islam's arrest, Moreno Ocampo personally flew to the Libyan capital late last month and met with government officials.

"If they can convince the (ICC) judges," Moreno Ocampo said, "we don't need to go and fight for a case."

In the meantime, Moreno Ocampo said, his office is continuing its investigation on the war crimes committed during the months-long military conflict in the country.

"We are sure there were massive rapes, quite sure," Moreno Ocampo said. "We're trying to define who ordered them."