The United Nations human rights office today welcomed reports that Libya will set up an independent commission of inquiry into the circumstances surrounding last Thursday’s killing of the country’s former leader Muammar al-Qadhafi.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had voiced concern after video footage surfaced indicating Mr. Qadhafi was initially alive when captured in his hometown of Sirte and may have been killed later.
Media reports today indicate that interim authorities in Libya have ordered an investigation into the former leader’s death and OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said it was important that the probe look into the questions surrounding Mr. Qadhafi’s death.
“We always stress the need to follow due process in the treatment of all detainees,” she told the UN News Centre, adding that OHCHR stood ready to provide any assistance to the inquiry if required.
Ms. Shamdasani added that as Libya undergoes a transition now that the regime of Mr. Qadhafi has fallen and fighting has ended, it was important that Libyans seek to rebuild and heal rather than take revenge.
“This is a new beginning for Libya and the world is watching. Human rights were at the foundation of the protests that led to the ousting” of the Qadhafi regime, and it was critical to ensure that human rights are upheld in the weeks and months ahead.
Ms. Shamdasani noted that OHCHR was aware of press reports that more than 50 pro-Qadhafi loyalists may have been executed in Sirte.
“It is essential that all detainees, regardless of which side they are on, are awarded due process.”