Gaddafi’s Death A Defeat For International Law


No matter whether he died in battle or was executed, the death of Muammar Gaddafi is a defeat for international law, Ottilia Maunganidze, researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, a top African think-tank based in Johannesburg, told MISNA.

Was the killing of Gaddafi justified under international law?

“Killing is never justified, especially in this case. The International Criminal Court had issued an arrest warrant for Gaddafi. They should have captured him and handed him to magistrates in The Hague”.

Could NATO planes have had a part in Gaddafi’s capture…

“It appears that fighter jets of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation bombed a convoy on which the Colonel was travelling, blocking it. It is however unclear whether Gaddafi was injured in the air strike. The National Transitional Council claims that he was shot in the head in an exchange of fire after his capture. It is however currently impossible to say if this was the case or it was an execution”.

Will there be an investigation?

“I would say one is necessary. But there would need to be the political will for an investigation and I do not believe this is the case. The international community wants to back the National Transitional Council and will probably set aside calls for justice for Gaddafi. Attention is focused elsewhere, maybe even on oil”.

The UN 1973 resolution authorised the NATO to “protect civilians”. Was this respected or not?

“It is difficult to establish what was or was not necessary. Undoubtedly, the resolution was ambiguous. It indicated as a priority the protection of civilians, but in the following article authorised the ‘use of necessary force’, allowing different interpretations”.


MISNA, or the Missionary International Service News Agency, provides daily news ‘from, about and for’ the 'world’s Souths', not just in the geographical sense, since December 1997.

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