The corpses were badly decayed by the time Human Rights Watch got there, clustered together in the sea-facing garden of an abandoned hotel in Sirte. “We found 53 decomposing bodies, apparently Gaddafi supporters, at an abandoned hotel in Sirte, and some had their hands bound behind their backs when they were shot,” said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch. HRW was too diplomatic to make the connection explicitly, but pointedly noted that the hotel in question had been in the hands of anti-Gaddafi fighters since early October, and that the bodies were about a week old.
HRW called on the National Transitional Council to investigate the killings immediately, as well as another discovery, also in Sirte, of ten bodies of victims apparently executed.
Summary justice is proving to be a controversial issue in the wake of Gaddafi’s regime. The most high-profile suspected victim is thought to be Gaddafi himself, along with his son Mo’tasim, both of whom were described by some apparent witnesses as having been captured alive. After immense international pressure, their deaths are being investigated by the NTC.
In a separate report, HRW voiced its concerns that the NTC was not doing enough to secure the heavy weaponry around Sirte, with missiles and munitions unguarded in the area. “For months we have been warning the NTC and Nato about the dangers posed by these vast stockpiles of unguarded weapons, and the urgent need to secure them,” said Bouckaert. “Surface-to-air missiles can take down civilian aircraft, and the explosive weapons can be converted easily into the car bombs and IEDs (improvised explosive devices) that have killed thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan.” DM
Photo: A man inspects bodies of Gaddafi loyalists after an attack on their convoy near Sirte on 23 October. Reuters.
Are You A South AfriCAN or a South AfriCAN'T?
Maverick Insider is more than a reader revenue scheme. While not quite a "state of mind", it is a mindset: it's about believing that independent journalism makes a genuine difference to our country and it's about having the will to support that endeavour.
From the #GuptaLeaks into State Capture to the Scorpio exposés into SARS, Daily Maverick investigations have made an enormous impact on South Africa and it's political landscape. As we enter an election year, our mission to Defend Truth has never been more important. A free press is one of the essential lines of defence against election fraud; without it, national polls can turn very nasty, very quickly as we have seen recently in the Congo.
If you would like a practical, tangible way to make a difference in South Africa consider signing up to become a Maverick Insider. You choose how much to contribute and how often (monthly or annually) and in exchange, you will receive a host of awesome benefits. The greatest benefit of all (besides inner peace)? Making a real difference to a country that needs your support.
Green screens are green because the colour does not match any natural skin tone of an actor.