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Libya report probes 'war crimes' and Gadhafi's death

Human Rights Watch has accused Libyan militias of massacring dozens of captured supporters of the late strongman Moammar Gadhafi. Its report also questions official accounts of how Libya's late dictator met his death.

The investigative New York-based organisation said on Wednesday that fresh evidence implicated Libyan militias in a mass execution of Moammar Gadhafi supporters after the former dictator's capture and death last October.

"The evidence suggests that opposition militias summarily executed at least 66 captured members of Gadhafi's convoy in Sirte," Gadhafi's home town, said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Referring to one of Gadhafi's sons, Bouckaert said: "It also looks as if they took Mutassim Gadhafi, who had been wounded, to [the port city of] Misrata and killed him there."

"Our findings call into question the assertion by Libyan authorities that Moammar Gadhafi was killed in crossfire, and not after his capture," Bouckaert said.

His remarks coincided with the release of a HRW report entitled "Death of a Dictator: Bloody vengeance in Sirte."

Gadhafi's death: in crossfire or captivity?

HRW's findings also question official accounts of Gadhafi's death. Libyan authorities insist that the former Libyan leader was killed in crossfire.

The HRW report, which is 50 pages long, is based on evidence from mobile phone video footage recorded by rebels and interviews with rebels and surviving members of the late dictator's convoy.

HRW said it has repeatedly called on the Libyan authorities to investigate the incident, which the watchdog argues is definable as a war crime, but to no avail.

“One of Libya's greatest challenges is to bring its well-armed militias under control and end their abuses.

"A good first step would be to investigate the mass executions of October 20, 2011, the most serious abuse by opposition forces documented so far," Bouckaert said.

sej/ipj (Reuters, AFP)