“But I believe he got what he deserved because if we prosecuted him for the smallest of his crimes, he would be punished by death,” he said. “Now we hope the NTC will accelerate the formation of a new government and … won’t waste time on irrelevant conflicts and competing for authority and positions.”
It’s a tall order after nearly 42 years of rule by one man, who often acted according to whims and tolerated no dissent. Libya’s new leaders have stressed the need for reconciliation, but many factions are eager to have their say after years of repression.
The Western-backed NTC, a collection of former rebels, returned exiles, technocrats and Islamists, has always been united behind its goal of ousting Gadhafi. Now the group must overcome divisions and competing self-interests to rebuild the oil-rich North African nation, which was stripped of institutions under Gadhafi.
The NTC said interim leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil will formally declare liberation on Saturday in the eastern city of Benghazi, where the revolution began in mid-February. Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril has promised to resign, saying he will not be part of any new government and will instead turn his attention to fighting corruption.
The transitional council has asked the United Nations “to play a significant role” in helping them write a constitution, hold elections and build democratic institutions, Ian Martin, the U.N. envoy to Libya, said.
“No one should underestimate in this moment of celebration in Libya how great are the challenges that lie ahead,” he said. He also warned of “a major challenge in the future of those of the fighters who don’t wish to return to previous civilian occupations.”
Gadhafi was killed when revolutionary fighters overwhelmed him and the last of his loyalists in his coastal hometown Sirte, the last bastion of his regime to be captured after weeks of heavy fighting.
Authorities have promised to bury Gadhafi in accordance with Islamic traditions calling for quick interment, but Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam said the burial was delayed because officials were debating “what the best place is to bury him.”
Gadhafi’s family, most of whom are in Algeria or other nearby African nations, issued a statement calling for an investigation into how Gadhafi and another of his sons, Muatassim, were killed. In the statement on the pro-Gadhafi, Syria-based TV station Al-Rai, they asked for international pressure on the NTC to hand over the bodies of the two men to their tribe.
Gadhafi was captured alive and there have been contradictory accounts of how and when he received his fatal wounds. Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the images of his last moments were very disturbing.
“More details are needed to ascertain whether he was killed in some form of fighting or was executed after his capture,” Colville said.
According to most accounts from fighters on the ground and their commanders, Gadhafi and his loyalists were in a convoy trying to flee when NATO airstrikes hit two of the vehicles. Then revolutionary forces moved in and clashed with the loyalists for several hours.
Most accounts agree that Gadhafi died from wounds 30 to 40 minutes later as an ambulance took him to Misrata. But accounts differ over how he suffered those wounds.
Most commanders and fighters at the scene with whom The Associated Press has spoken say that when he was captured, Gadhafi already was fatally wounded. In the videos of his capture, however, he has blood on his head, but none on his chest or abdomen. At one point, his shirt is pulled up to his chest, but no wound is visible.