Libyan rebels backed by the Obama administration and NATO governments committed a wide range of war crimes, including, in one case, summarily executing and torturing dozens of prisoners of war, possibly including strongman Muammar Gadhafi and his son, the non-profit group Human Rights Watch said in a newly released report. The new Western-backed government ruling parts of Libya out of Tripoli, meanwhile, has failed to investigate or prosecute the well-documented abuses.
The latest 58-page report, dubbed Death of a Dictator: Bloody Vengeance in Sirte, highlights new evidence indicating that the former despot and members of his convoy were brutalized and executed by rebel forces in violation of the laws of war. After being hit with NATO missiles while attempting to flee, the Libyan strongman and his men were captured by opposition fighters and placed under “total control.” Then they were killed.
“The evidence suggests that opposition militias summarily executed at least 66 captured members of Gaddafi’s convoy in Sirte,” said emergencies director Peter Bouckaert with New York-based Human Rights Watch, adding that the ex-despot’s son was apparently executed as well. “It also looks as if they took Mutassim Gaddafi, who had been wounded, to Misrata and killed him there. Our findings call into question the assertion by Libyan authorities that Muammar Gaddafi was killed in crossfire, and not after his capture."
As The New American reported at the time, suspicions about whether Gadhafi had been unlawfully executed and even sodomized after his capture were running rampant. More than a few entities, including the budding Libyan regime, pledged to investigate or called for a proper investigation. That apparently never happened.
The Libyan “National Transitional Council” (NTC) — comprised largely of Islamic extremists, former regime officials, and others — insisted repeatedly that the dictator had been killed in the crossfire amid a desperate battle. However, it now appears almost certain that, as suspected, he was actually killed by rebels after being subdued. That would be a violation of due process and the laws of war, according to experts.
Human Rights Watch also reported that Gadhafi was stabbed in the buttocks with a bayonet before being executed. His son, who was also captured alive, was taken to another city and appeared on camera. Not long after that, he was found dead with a wound across his throat that was not previously visible in the film.
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2011 photo of revolutionary fighter zipping up a body bag of on of more than 30 Gadhafi loyalists in Sirte, Libya: AP Images