[JURIST] Libyan transitional Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril [official profile] on Sunday declared the country’s official liberation from the regime of former leader Muammar Gaddafi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and set a schedule for establishing a new government. Jibril made the announcement in front of thousands of supporters celebrating in the city of Benghazi, the location of the National Transitional Council (NTC) [website] and where the first uprisings sparked the Libya conflict [JURIST feature] eight months ago. Jibril and other NTC officials thanked the opposition fighters, as well as international organizations like the United Nations [official website], for their support during the conflict and pledged to create an interim government within a month and to hold elections [Al Jazeera report] in eight months. Jibril also said Islamic sharia law would form the basis of law under the new government [AP report] and that any law in contradiction would be nullified. The declaration of liberation comes three days after Gaddafi’s capture and death [JURIST report] at the hands of opposition forces in his hometown of Sirte. 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. Jibril also announced on Sunday that they would release Gaddafi’s body [TOI report] to his extended relatives for burial in a location to be determined by the NTC and Gaddafi’s family.
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]. On Friday, the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] called for a full investigation [JURIST report] into Gaddafi’s death, a request that came amid contradictory accounts and uncertainty [Reuters report] about how exactly the killing took place. UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions [official website] said that states need to respect international standards [press release] on the use of lethal force during an arrest [UN News Centre report]. Gaddafi’s death marks the latest milestone in the Libya conflict, 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.