25th Tail aka Gaddafi’s Death: Has Justice Been Served?
[Since I know that my school’s newspaper too fainthearted to deal with my op-ed on Gaddafi, what other venue works better than my own blog? This also marks my return to the tumblrverse. Thank you for following me]
Death: the end of a life – a life that should be worth no more or no less than others. Yet, when a man like Gaddafi is killed, celebration begins. It’s so morbid that one wonders since when has killing a person been justice served. First, it was Saddam, who was killed on an Eid day and then it was Laden. Yes, they had done many bad deeds. But, such a death? I don’t think any human being deserves that. And, after all, we are no one to determine the worth of a human life and treating the dead in such an appalling way doesn’t make us any more honorable. What happened to granting the dying person one death wish? Forget the fact that the Islamic rituals were not followed for him upon his death; his body was subjected to necrophilic tourism even 3 days after his death, a tale the horror stories are made of.
As for now, some specifics about Gaddafi’s death: As Sirte, Gaddafi’s homeland fell to the NATO forces on Oct. 20th, his convoy was captured and he reportedly took hostage with his bodyguards inside a drainage pipe. Various sources state that he was then beaten and shot repeatedly and once dead, his body was subsequently kept and publicly displayed by the interim Libyan government for a few days so that everyone would know that “he’s dead.” He was initially refused a proper autopsy and a burial. And, videos footages of the late dictator’s death were circulated online. Gaddafi had committed many atrocities, one of the most recent being the attack on the Lockerbie families, yet that does not change the fact that how he was treated during and after his last moments is indeed gruesome. It is not about being sympathetic towards him but simply about following the procedures. He should at least have been sent to trial for all the crimes he committed.
His death saves the world from having various questions answered during his ICC trial, the least of all being which court should conduct his trial. His source of weaponry and warfare will never be disclosed to the public; neither will the man ever get a chance to explain his actions and nor will we get to know about the details behind his many atrocities. The “justice” we wanted is not what we get but it is his death that becomes “justice” for many. By and by, how can the death of one tyrant ruler equate the death of many innocents under his reign? But, if our idea of justice is not about knowing the truth and disregarding many human rights provisions, then justice has indeed been served.
This affront to legal justice during his last moments also explains as to why the UN Human Rights Council, Amnesty and Human Rights Watch have labeled this incident an extrajudicial killing or war crime. The UN Special Rapporteur, Cristof Heynes has stated that ‘The Geneva conventions are very clear that when prisoners are taken they may not be executed willfully and if that was the case then we are dealing with a war crime, something that should be tried.’ So far, the NTC has not responded favorably to calls for investigation.
Gaddafi’s death marks the beginning of a new era for Libya. While many would say a trial would have been a nice closure to his oppressive regime and would possibly have been a better form of justice for the victims of his regime, expecting the forces to be fluff is like calling for the moon. Trading off his life for the lives of the victims seems dishonorable for the victims as well. But, if his death indeed marks the start of a new democratic Libya, which I’m quite skeptical about given the tension between the various tribal groups, then one can probably breathe a sigh of relief. As the Libyans celebrate Gaddafi’s death and call it “justice”, real justice is actually far from over.