U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday that the U.S. would be a partner to Libya following the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
“The rule of an iron fist inevitably comes to an end,” Obama said in his speech to the nation from the White House Rose Garden.
“Our NATO mission will soon come to an end,” said Obama.
Amnesty International said Libya’s new leaders must bring justice to all those suspected of human rights abuses under Gaddafi’s fallen regime.
Libya’s interim authorities said last month they had found a mass grave in the capital containing the bodies of more than 1,270 people killed in 1996 by Gaddafi’s security forces at Abu Salim prison in Tripoli.
“The legacy of repression and abuse from Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's rule will not end until there is a full accounting for the past and human rights are embedded in Libya's new institutions,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty's deputy director for North Africa and the Middle East.
Sahraoi added, “Colonel Gaddafi's death must not stop his victims in Libya from seeing justice being done. The many Libyan officials suspected of serious human rights violations committed during and before this year's uprising, including the infamous Abu Salim prison massacre in 1996, must answer for their crimes.”
Upon the announcement of the capture, crowds of people erupted in celebrations throughout the old city of Sirte waving Libya’s new flag and shouting, “God is greatest.”
In Tripoli celebratory crowds gathered as fireworks lit up the sky.
When U.S. forces killed Osama Bin Laden in May, the White House told reporters that the President would be addressing the nation and journalists soon pieced the facts together. However in the case of Gaddafi, the news leaked before the White House had time to react and it appears rebel forces were responsible.