Gadhafi's death should be probed, U.N. agency says

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Story highlights

  • The U.N. human rights agency says the "videos are disturbing"
  • Amnesty International also wants the death to be probed
  • Moammar Gadhafi ruled Libya for decades until this summer
The circumstances of late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's death are "unclear" and need to be investigated, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said Friday.
"More details are needed to ascertain whether he was killed in the fighting or after his capture," the agency said.
"There seem to be four or five different versions of how he died. As you are aware, there are at least two cell-phone videos, one showing him alive and one showing him dead. Taken together, these videos are very disturbing."
The agency said it's important that "justice is done" to bring "closure on the legacy of Gaddafi's 42-year despotic rule, and on the bloody conflict this year." It said "human rights must be the cornerstone of all policies and actions" in a new Libya.
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"The thousands of victims who suffered loss of life, disappearance, torture and other serious human rights violations since the conflict broke out in February 2011, as well as those who suffered human rights violations throughout Gadhafi's long rule, have the right to know the truth, to see the culture of impunity brought to an end, and to receive reparations," the office said.
"In order to turn the page on the legacy of decades of systematic violations of human rights, it will be essential for alleged perpetrators to be brought before trials, which adhere to international standards for fair trial, and for victims to see that accountability has been achieved."
Mahmoud Jibril, Libya's transitional prime minister, said Gadhafi was captured alive and unharmed on Thursday as troops from the National Transitional Council overran his hometown of Sirte. But a gunbattle erupted between transitional council fighters and Gadhafi's supporters as his captors attempted to load him into a vehicle, Jibril said, leaving Gadhafi with a wound to his right arm.
More shooting erupted as the vehicle drove away, and Gadhafi -- overthrown in August -- was hit in the head, Jibril said, Gadhafi died moments before arriving at a hospital in Misrata, Jibril said, citing the city's coroner.
Amnesty International urged the NTC "to make public" the "full facts" on Gadhafi's death.
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"It is essential to conduct a full, independent and impartial inquiry to establish whether Colonel Gadhafi was killed during combat or after he was captured," the group said on Thursday.
Amnesty urged the NTC "to ensure that all those suspected of human rights abuses and war crimes" get humane treatment and are given fair trials if captured. That includes Gadhafi's family members and his inner circle.