Slain former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi should not have been killed, but captured and tried at the International Criminal Court, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.
Zuma was addressing a joint media briefing with Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
“Given there was a warrant of arrest against Gaddafi, those who found him should have arrested him and handed him to the ICC,” Zuma said.
“We expected him to be captured, given that everybody knew there was a warrant of arrest issued against him.”
“There is a trend across the world where former leaders accused of injustice are not given an opportunity to stand trial in a court of justice. That is surprising. I think even those who accused him [Gaddafi] would have wanted to see him become answerable,” he said.
He said the National Transitional Council of Libya should strive to bring peace and stability to the war-torn North African country.
“Let us put the events around Gaddafi’s death behind us. Our concern is the attainment of peace. South Africa is ready to assist all the way.”
In June, Zuma’s spokesperson Zizi Kodwa told the SABC that Zuma was “extremely disappointed and concerned on the issuing of a warrant by the ICC against Colonel Gaddafi”.
Zuma said at the time the warrant was undermining the efforts of the African Union to bring about a peace deal in the North African country.
Mbasogo on Friday said the African Union had led several efforts “to persuade Colonel Gaddafi to cease power peacefully, but he refused”.
“We remember how a team including President Jacob Zuma intervened on behalf of the African Union and went to negotiate a settlement in Libya but did not succeed. They took a major risk and went to places like Benghazi where there were some problems.”
He said that since the AU had recognised the NTC in September as the legitimate authority in Libya, Gaddafi’s actions and whereabouts were no longer a major concern of the 54-nation bloc.
Mbasogo said that in conflict situations the AU did not have capacity for any intervention beyond negotiations.
“It is a body with hands tied. We offer means for peaceful conflict resolution but often it is not taken. We do not have the court to try anyone accused of injustice.”
He said the idea of an AU court was raised in his talks with Zuma on Friday.
Both leaders called for “a cessation of hostilities under an inclusive political process which will culminate in the holding of first ever democratic elections” in accordance with the AU roadmap.
The two leaders’ discussions also centred on reviewing the state of bilateral co-operation between South Africa and Equatorial Guinea in areas including trade, transport, minerals and energy, defence and security.
The two countries agreed to launch a Joint Cooperation Commission (JCC) led by both countries’ ministers of international relations. The Commission would be tasked in expanding trade relations and explore areas of further mutual benefit.
Zuma said: “The JCC will act as an invaluable instrument for the management and co-ordination of our bilateral co-operation.”
He added that expertise would be offered to Equatorial Guinea, as the country prepared to co-host the Africa Cup of Nations tournament with Gabon in 2012.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu also condemned the killing of Gaddafi, saying mob justice and violence should always be deplored.
“The manner of the killing of Muammar Gaddafi on Thursday totally detracts from the noble enterprise of instilling a culture of human rights and democracy in Libya,” he said in a statement.
” … the people of Libya should have demonstrated better values than those of their erstwhile oppressor.”
Gaddafi was shot dead in his hometown of Sirte. He sustained fatal injuries to the head and stomach.
As news of his death spread, images of the 69-year-old former leader’s bloodied body were broadcast across the globe.
Tutu said the United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, could not be proud of calling for Gaddafi’s killing.
“Nor is killing a human being something to be celebrated,” he said.
The ANC Youth League saluted Gaddafi on Friday as an anti-imperialist martyr and wanted to know who would be next.
“Brother Leader was ruthlessly killed by rebels armed by Nato forces, who invaded Libya because of its natural resources,” youth league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said in a statement.
Shivambu said Gaddafi had resisted imperialist domination of the African continent and never agreed to the draining of natural resources from Africa, appreciating that they should be used to benefit the people of Africa.
The fact that he was killed in combat was an “inspiration to many freedom fighters across the continent and the world”, Shivambu said.
“Like Colonel Gaddafi, as economic freedom fighters we will fight to the bitter end and [are] ready to pay the highest price for the retaining of South Africa and Africa’s natural resources to the rightful owners,” he said.
The league was ready to fight to protect and defend the sovereignty of “our countries”, to defend political freedom and de-colonisation.
Shivambu said the struggle for economic freedom and liberation would never be easy, because imperialist agents would infiltrate the oppressed and exploited people and portray anti-imperialist fighters as enemies of the people.
The struggle for economic freedom would not be easy and there would be betrayals like that of Gaddafi.
The only appropriate send off for Gaddafi was to recommit to the struggle for total economic freedom “in our lifetime”, said Shivambu
“The question we should ask is who is next? Rest in Peace Brother Leader!” — Sapa