NATO actions preceding the death of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi should be scrutinized for their compliance with international law, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.
Gaddafi, who had ruled Libya for 42 years, was captured by National Transitional Council (NTC) soldiers near his home town of Sirte on Thursday. He subsequently died of his injuries.
“We need to analyze NATO actions in terms of their compliance with international law,” he said in a radio interview, commenting on the military bloc’s air strike on Gaddafi’s convoy.
NATO air force pilots did not know Gaddafi was in one of the cars when they attacked a convoy of vehicles near Sirte on Thursday morning, NATO command said in a press release.
It was wrong to kill Gaddafi, Lavrov said.
“Under international law, international humanitarian rules are in force during armed conflicts - and what is taking place in Libya is an armed conflict. These rules are enshrined in the Geneva Conventions of the 1940s,” Lavrov went on.
These conventions say in no uncertain terms that when a participant of an armed conflict is captured, special procedures are applied to him or her, including medical aid if the participant is wounded, the minister said.
“They should not have killed him,” he emphasized.
The NTC has confirmed the death of the dictator, but the circumstances remain unclear.
Western leaders hailed the end of Gaddafi's reign, calling it a landmark event for Libya.
The Russian parliament earlier on Friday rejected a call from the Communist, Liberal Democratic and A Just Russia parties to adopt a statement on Libya and express condolences over Gaddafi’s death.
A number of Russian politicians lamented his death, with Liberal Democratic Party of Russia leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky hailing the Libyan leader as “an African Karl Marx, a Libyan [Giuseppe] Garibaldi.”
Gaddafi’s death will not improve the situation in the country, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said.
Gaddafi’s death also upset Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the president of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) and former head of the Russian republic of Kalmykia.
Ilyumzhinov met with the Libyan leader in Tripoli during the 8-month-long standoff between Gaddafi supporters and rebels.