Libya's rebel leaders reacted angrily Monday to reports that Moammar Gadhafi's wife Safia, daughter Aisha, and sons Hannibal and Mohammed had been allowed into neighboring Algeria on "humanitarian grounds." Gadhafi himself, however, is still on the run, and the opposition forces that toppled him are rushing to hunt him down. What should Libya's new leaders do with the country's longtime strongman if they catch him?
Gadhafi should be tried in Libya: To give Libya a new start, Gadhafi must receive a fair trial, says Abdul Jalil, chairman of the rebel National Transitional Council, as quoted by Italy's La Repubblica (via Ynetnews.com). "But it must take place in Libya." Treating Gadhafi and his cohorts better than they ever treated the Libyan people will signal the start of a new era with rights for all. It will also establish that the arrests and assassinations carried out under Gadhafi are a thing of the past.
"Rebel leader: Gaddafi to be tried in Libya, elections in 8 months"
He should be extradited to the Hague: If Libya's triumphant rebels were only interested in justice, says Geoffrey Robertson in Britain's Guardian, they wouldn't have offered a $1.6 million reward to any loyalist who hands over Gadhafi, dead or alive. "It is too much to expect that Gadhafi can receive justice at the hands of those whom he has repressed for so long, in a corrupt judicial system that he controlled." To establish the rule of law in Libya, the new leaders should send Gadhafi to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to face charges of crimes against humanity.
"Gadhafi to The Hague"
Either way, Gadhafi must be treated fairly: Holding your own oppressor "to account, without foreign interference, can be extremely liberating," says Elise Jordan at National Review. But no matter where Gadhafi is judged, the important thing is to avoid the errors of Iraq, which subjected Saddam Hussein to taunts that actually made him look "sympathetic and temporarily dignified" as he was put to death. "How the new government manages Gadhafi's trial will be consequential for years to come," and they'll only get one chance to do it right.