Now, relatives are complaining about his death and want to bring war crimes charges against NATO.
Marcel Ceccaldi, a French lawyer who previously worked for Kadafi's regime and now represents his family, told AFP on Wednesday that the complaint would be filed with the International Criminal Court in the Hague because the family believes a NATO strike on Kadafi’s convoy led directly to his death.Somehow, the death of Khadafi under suspect conditions while in the custody of rebel forces makes NATO liable?
Kadafi, who ruled Libya for more than four decades, was captured alive by revolutionary fighters on Thursday in his hometown of Surt, ending an eight-month war that cost more than 30,000 lives. The circumstances of his death remain unclear.
Libyan authorities have said he likely died in crossfire. Others, including the international rights advocacy group Human Rights Watch, believe Kadafi was executed. But Kadafi’s family is convinced that he died as a result of NATO aircraft firing on his convoy as it fled Surt, Ceccaldi told AFP.
"The willful killing [of someone protected by the Geneva Convention] is defined as a war crime by Article 8 of the ICC's Rome Statute," the news agency quoted Ceccaldi as saying. "Kadafi's homicide shows that the goal of [NATO] member states was not to protect civilians but to overthrow the regime.”
It was unclear when the complaint would be filed, but Ceccaldi said the lawsuit would target NATO executive bodies and leaders of the alliance’s member states.
In June, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Kadafi, his son and onetime heir apparent Seif Islam Kadafi, and Abdullah Sanoussi, the regime's former security chief, for murder and other crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the regime's crackdown on protesters this year.
It was not foreseeable that the NATO airstrike would lead to the rebels executing Khadafi in cold blood. After all, they pulled him from the culvert wounded but alive. But for the actions of someone in that crowd executing him in cold blood, Khadafi may well have survived had he received treatment.
That isn't on NATO. That's on the individual rebel group that captured him. But for family members, they want to go after NATO, which they blame for the fall of the regime that kept the family living in relative luxury.
This case also shows just how perverse the notion of international justice is. If this group submits to ICC jurisdiction, how about holding the relatives liable for Khadafi's war crimes - and they were more involved in the daily affairs of the regime than NATO was in Khadafi's death. Do Khadafi's relatives really want to go down this path? After all, Khadafi's relatives profited from 40+ years of Mumar's rule, benefited from the use of violence to quell dissent within the country, became enriched from the wealth of natural resources stolen from the people, and knew, or had reason to know of the use of deadly force to stop the protests. They did nothing to stop Khadafi's use of force to stop the protests.
Family members were enablers and championed Khadafi, even though it extended the misery of the Libyan people.