Mysteries of Muammar Gaddafi's death

October 20 marked one year of the death of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The politician died a horrible death: Gaddafi was first tortured and then executed. Initially, it was claimed that the Colonel had been killed in a shootout. However, after the video of the terrible tortures spread around the world, the version of death in the shootout ceased to exist.

By this date, Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international human rights organization, released new evidence showing that Gaddafi, contrary to the official version, had not been accidentally wounded in a shootout. The newly released data shows that he was tortured by rebels. Afterwards, they killed his son Mutassimom and 66 Gadaffi supporters. All the prisoners were subjected to severe tortures before death. The human rights organization published a 50-page report, "Death of a Dictator: Bloody Vengeance in Sirte." The report emphasizes that the Libyan authorities have not kept their promise to investigate the death of Colonel Gaddafi and punish all those responsible for the massacre. HRW accused the Libyan government of harboring war criminals.

The report may damage the reputation of the Libyan authorities in the eyes of the West even further, after the recent assassination of U.S. ambassador, Christopher Stevens. At first, rebels claimed that Gaddafi was hiding in the drainage system and that he was seized there. Then it turned out that he wanted to break out of Sirte with 50 cars of his supporters. NATO forces bombed the column, and Gaddafi and his entourage was captured.

The prisoners were divided. The rebels immediately began to torture Gaddafi. They took his son to Misrata, where he was interrogated and then killed. Other followers of the colonel were placed underneath a concrete wall, where they were beaten and later executed. The rebels shot Mutassim Gaddafi on video. When he was being questioned, he was drinking water and smoking. In the evening, his body with a wound on the throat, which could not be seen on the previous videos, was not shown to people.

HRW interviewed several witnesses of the dictator's captivity, particularly his surviving followers. The human rights activists also studied numerous recordings that the rebels made on their mobile phones and posted on the web. Some of them show the moment, when Gaddafi was captured. Director of Emergency Management HRW Peter Bouckaert is certain that the events that took place a year ago were nothing but a brutal war crime. The execution of prisoners took place without any trial. Under international law, the execution of prisoners of war is a war crime, and the Libyan authorities were obliged to investigate the crime and punish those responsible for it.

Gaddafi was injured; he was bleeding. Instead of providing medical help to the colonel, the rebels began to brutally beat and bayonet him. In one of the videos posted on the Internet by the rebels, one can see Muammar Gaddafi being dragged on the ground. Someone bayonets him in the buttocks. When they finally took him to hospital, the colonel was showing no sign of life, which can be clearly seen on video.

Gaddafi's guards were shot dead at a hotel located nearby. On October 22, 2011 HRW staff found there the remains of 53 people. Most of the victims had their hands tied; they were shot in the back of the head. The human rights organization compared the faces of the dead with the persons who could be seen on videos. They found 17 complete matches. These facts ramshackle the official version that said that the supporters of Gaddafi and himself died in the crossfire.

Human Rights Watch does not see any wish of the Libyan authorities to investigate the events that happened on October 20, 2011 near Sirte, and punish those responsible. HRW even found the names of rebel commanders who gave the order to shoot the prisoners, thus committing a war crime. All the evidence was handed over to the Libyan authorities, but the latter showed no response. This was the basis for disclosing the results of the investigation - the most heinous one during the whole experience of HRW.

However, experts say that even if the government in Tripoli wanted to prosecute the commanders, who ordered to kill the prisoners, it would be hard for them to do it. The central government does not control the situation in many regions. The Attempts to arrest local commanders would lead to new bloodshed. The facts released by HRW can split the Libyan government with key Western states.

It seems that Western "builders of democracy," who supported the Libyan rebels against Colonel Gaddafi, built a strange democracy there. Its quality was questioned during the moment when the Libyans were filmed near Gaddafi's  corpse and was shattered after the recent assassination of the U.S. ambassador. To crown it all, numerous reports from the war-torn country say that armed gangs still happily exist in Libya, although they are no longer needed there. Perhaps, the European countries that launched the military operation in Libya, are now more preoccupied with the economic situation in their own countries, rather than with the situation in Libya.

Moreover, Sarkozy, the main supporter of NATO's invasion of Libya, is no longer in power, and France is now not worried much about the situation in Tripoli. NATO's operation against Gaddafi started and ended illegally. It was launched on the base of the corrupted UN Security Council Resolution from 1973. The resolution entitled only to protect civilians - it did not stipulate a combat operation. The end of this operation was also illegal: the extrajudicial murder of the ex-leader of the country.

The brutal murder of Muammar Gadhafi by a crowd of rebels received a predictable response from the US authorities. American officials welcomed the murder. Barack Obama, being a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was supposed to condemn it, at least for decency. He did not. Law ceases to exist as soon as it interferes with an intention of U.S. authorities to get what they want. The moral responsibility for the murder of Gaddafi lies on the President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, and on other leaders of NATO members. They warped the essence of the UN resolution and began the bloody war.

The Libyan precedent should be the last in this sense. It is no coincidence that China and Russia did not sanction NATO and the U.S. for the destruction of Syria's. Russia and China  did not vote for the resolution, which would formally impose sanctions, but would then be interpreted as the right to kill the Syrian leadership. After all, there is an obvious trend: first - Milosevic, then - Hussein, and then - Gaddafi. None of these politicians attacked the U.S. and Europe.

The first lesson to be learned from the life and death of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi - is that a political leader should not relax. Gaddafi believed that he was on good terms with the West. In addition, he had a strong presence in Africa, serving as the President of the African Union, uniting 53 states.

The second lesson is that a person, who stays in power for a long time, must be very realistic about political situation. Gaddafi could not adequately assess the internal state of affairs. Libya exploded as a result of the Arab Spring that struck Tunisia and Egypt. Gaddafi clearly underestimated the Arab Spring.

The third lesson - Gaddafi had to stop on time. If he had left power about 5 years ago, it would have remained a respected former head of the country. Younger politicians would have visited him for advice and, most importantly, he would have been alive.

Sergei Vasilenko


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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov