“The government version certainly does not fit with the reality we have seen on the ground,” said Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch, who has been investigating the capture of Gaddafi in his home town of Sirte. Amnesty International warned that the killing could be a war crime.
The firestorm over Gaddafi’s death occurred as NATO announced that its military mission would end Oct. 31.
“I’m very proud of what we have achieved, together with our partners,” Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in Brussels.
But in Libya, a dead Gaddafi was proving almost as troublesome as a live one for the interim government.
Senior officials met into the night to consider the demands for an investigation and figure out how to bury Gaddafi secretly so that the grave would not become a pilgrimage site. His body was stored Friday in a refrigerated room normally used as a meat locker in Misurata, the home of the fighters who captured him, and local citizens were allowed to file by. Scores of people lined up for a glimpse of Gaddafi, whose troops partially destroyed the city in fierce fighting this past spring.
Snatches of cellphone video posted to YouTube and played on Arab-language television showed the revolutionaries trying to raise Gaddafi from the ground after his capture Thursday. His face was dripping with blood, his shirt splotched with crimson. But he was clearly alive.
“You dog! This is Misurata. Misurata captured you,” they taunted him. One spat in his face.
“Have pity! Don’t hit me!” Gaddafi cried.
“Now you know pity!” one man responded.
Another video showed Gaddafi being punched and hit as he was splayed on a trunk hood.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters in Washington that the new Libyan government had “pledged to provide a full accounting of what happened, what transpired leading up to his death. And we look to them to do that.”
A U.N. official said a panel set up to investigate abuses in Libya would probably take up the matter of Gaddafi’s death.
“More details are needed to ascertain whether he was killed in some form of fighting or was executed after his capture,’’ said Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril had said Thursday that Gaddafi was uninjured when he was captured but was fatally shot in the head in “crossfire” between revolutionaries and loyalist forces as he was driven away in a truck. Bouckaert, of Human Rights Watch, said Friday that interviews with revolutionary commanders and loyalist fighters traveling with Gaddafi produced a very different account.