The death of Colonel Mu'ammar al-Gaddafi brings to a close a chapter of Libya's history marked by repression and abuse, but does not end the story, Amnesty International said today.
“The legacy of repression and abuse from Colonel Mu'ammar al-Gaddafi's rule will not end until there is a full accounting for the past and human rights are embedded in Libya's new institutions,” said Claudio Cordone, Senior Director at Amnesty International.
Legacy of repression
During his 42 years in power, al-Gaddafi ruled with an iron fist, stifling individual freedoms and any form of political dissent.
Thanks to al-Gaddafi, Libya’s public institutions were rendered largely inefficient or, like the criminal justice system, used as tools of repression. The country lacked an independent civil society, a free press or political parties.
"Colonel al-Gaddafi’s death must not stop his victims in Libya from seeing justice being done. The many Libyan officials suspected of serious human rights violations committed during and before this year's uprising, including the infamous Abu Salim prison massacre in 1996, must answer for their crimes,” said Claudio Cordone.
"The new authorities must make a complete break from the culture of abuse that Colonel al-Gaddafi’s regime perpetuated and initiate the human rights reforms that are urgently needed in the country."
This should include overhauling the criminal justice system to bring it in line with international standards, including by properly defining crimes like torture and extrajudicial executions.
Inquiry into death
Amnesty International called on Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) to make public information about how Colonel al-Gaddafi died, making the full facts available to the Libyan people.
It is essential to conduct a full, independent and impartial inquiry to establish whether Colonel al-Gaddafi was killed during combat or after he was captured, the organization said.
Amnesty International called on the NTC to ensure that all those suspected of human rights abuses and war crimes, including Colonel al-Gaddafi's inner circle and family members, are treated humanely and, if captured, given fair trials.