Rome: Libya will hold free elections in eight months’s time and Moammar Gadhafi will be put on trial in the country and not handed over to an international court, rebel leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil said Wednesday.
“In eight months we will hold legislative and presidential elections,” said Jalil, chairman of the rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) which now controls all but isolated pockets of the oil-rich state.
“We want a democratic government and a just constitution. Above all we do not wish to continue to be isolated in the world as we have been up to now,” he told Italy’s La Repubblica daily.
Gadhafi’s whereabouts remained unknown on Wednesday after the rebels had overrun his Tripoli compound, but the rebel leader said he and his inner circle should be captured alive and stand trial in Libya.
“The Gadhafi era is over, even if it will only really end with his capture and his conviction for the crimes he has committed.”
The consensus within the NTC was that Gadhafi and his cohorts is that he should be judged “in a fair trial, but it must take place in Libya,” Jalil told the newspaper.
For that to happen “we need to take them alive and treat them differently from the way the colonel treated his adversaries. He will stay in the memory only for the crimes, the arrests and the political assassinations he carried out,” he added.
Italy’s foreign minister Franco Frattini said Tuesday that Gadhafi should be judged by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.
After a six-month uprising against the strongman, who ruled over Libya for 42 years, there were only “pockets of resistance” left in Tripoli, and his troops has retreated to Gadhafi’s stronghold port city of Sirte, Jalil said.
He said the “new” Libya “must be a different country from the past, based on the principles of freedom, equality and fraternity,” and will have “strong relations with other countries, based on mutual respect and cooperation.”
“We will be an active member of the international community and we will respect the treaties signed in the past,” he said.