Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gaddafi’s death raises questions of human rights violations




On Oct. 20, Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi was captured alive by rebel forces, ending a civil uprising that began on Feb. 17 2011.
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minya al-Gaddafi was born in June 1942 in Libya, which was then a colony under the control of Italy.  He rose to power in 1969 when he and other officers of Libya's army launched a military coup d'état against the Libyan monarch,  King Idris, and his nephew and heir apparent, Crown Prince HayyidHasanar-Rida Al-Mahdi- as-Sanussi.
While King Idris was away for medical treatment, the officers moved in and took control of the government, arrested the Crown Prince, and declared Libya a republic.  Though the coup was carried out by the military, there was no bloodshed in the overthrow.
The Libyan Revolution began with protests in Benghazi, where Libyan security forces opened fire into the protesting crowds.  The protests spread across the country, despite extensive efforts by the Libyan government to halt them, and the revolutionaries formed the National Transitional Council (NTC) to serve as a governing body in place ofGaddafi's government.
Soon after the formation of the NTC and in response to Gaddafi'sstatement that he would "show no mercy" to the rebels of Benghazi, the UN began enforcing a no-fly zone order over Libya. According to an article by the Associated Press, on Jun. 27 2011 the international Criminal Court (ICC) called for the arrest of Colonel Gaddafi and his son, Saif al-Islam, for crimes against humanity.  Gaddafi and other officials loyal to him ignored the arrest warrants on the belief that the ICC has "no legitimacy whatsoever" and that "all of its activities are directed at African leaders."
An NTC official announced on Oct. 20 2011 that Muammar Gaddafiwas captured by Libyan rebel forces.  Shortly after his death, he was shot dead by the same forces.  There are as many as four cellphonevideos taken of revolutionaries beating Gaddafi before his death.   His body, along with the bodies of his son, Moatassem Gaddafi, and Defense Minister, Abu-Bakr YunisJabr, were put on display to the Libyan public.  Citizens from across the country came to view the bodies.
Gaddafi's death is currently under investigation by the United Nations' Human Rights Office under suspicion that he was killed both as a war crime and without a trial.  There are claims that the videos showing his treatment before his death show enough violence and disregard that it is highly likely his death was also given such treatment.
Some worry that if the circumstances surrounding his death were taken out through violence, it serves as a sign that the government taking over Gaddafi's will also be run through violence.
Michael Solberg, a Physics Major and History Minor Sophomore, was "pleased" that the rebel forces were able to "get the job done."  When asked about the effect Gaddafi's death will have on Libya, Michael said, "As a former history major, I believe I can safely say that history has shown that sometimes you become the beast you kill.  Let's hope that doesn't happen."

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