Interim Libyan leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil [official profile] said Monday that he has ordered an investigation into the death of former leader Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive]. He said that the National Transition Council [official website] has formed a committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding Gaddafi's capture and death [JURIST report] last week at the hands of opposition forces in his hometown of Sirte and to determine what to do with the body. Abdul-Jalil's statement comes amid pressure [JURIST report] from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website], rights groups including Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] and international governments for an official investigation. Cell phone videos [WARNING: graphic images] taken during Gaddafi's capture have surfaced depicting wounded and bloodied Gaddafi alive but enduring torment and beatings by his captors while being carried and placed into the back of a truck. An autopsy confirmed that Gaddafi died from a gun shot wound to the head [AP report], but Abdul-Jalil suggested Monday that Gaddafi may have been killed by his own supporters [AP report] to prevent him from implicating them in any crimes under his regime. Gaddafi's body has been on display [Reuters report: graphic content] since Friday in the city of Misrata, drawing large crowds of visitors wanting to see the body and take photos.
Libyan transitional leader Mahmoud Jibril [official profile] on Sunday declared the country's official liberation [JURIST report] from Gaddafi's regime and set a schedule for establishing a new government. Libyan civilians and NTC officials continue to celebrate the news of Gaddafi's death, and several world leaders have expressed relief and support for Libya. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official profile] said this week that Gaddafi's death marked "an historic transition" for the country and urged Libyans to stop fighting and promote peace [UN News Centre report]. Gaddafi's death marks the latest milestone in the Libya conflict [JURIST backgrounder], which began in February [JURIST report] as part of a wider protest movement, commonly referred to as the "Arab Spring," that had spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa.