UK Politics

Libya's image 'stained' by Gaddafi death - Hammond

Col Muammar Gaddafi
Image caption International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said Col Gaddafi was killed in "the heat of the battle"

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has said the new Libyan government's reputation has been "a little bit stained" by the killing of Col Gaddafi.

Mr Hammond expressed disappointment that the former leader was killed before he faced justice in court.

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell and Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt also said they would rather have seen Gaddafi tried.

Mr Burt said Britain "was expecting" an inquiry into Col Gaddafi's death.

In an interview with BBC One's Andrew Marr Show, Mr Hammond said: "It's certainly not the way we do things."

He went on: "We would have liked to see Col Gaddafi going on trial to answer for his misdeeds."

He said court proceedings would also have held Col Gaddafi to account for "the many acts of terrorism that he supported and perpetrated outside Libya, of which we in Britain have a disproportionately large number of victims."

An investigation into Col Gaddafi's death should be held, Mr Hammond said.

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Media captionJim Murphy: 'We need the truth'

"The fledgling Libyan government will understand that its reputation in the international community is a little bit stained by what happened," he added.

Also speaking on Mr Marr's show, Labour shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said: "Part of (our) moral responsibility is getting to the bottom of actually what happened to Gaddafi.

"No-one really mourns his death and it would be wrong also to celebrate it, but we need to know the truth and the facts."

'Heat of battle'

Mr Mitchell told BBC One's Politics Show it would have been "much better" if Col Gaddafi had faced justice.

He said it was "clearly an extremely confusing moment" when the former Libyan leader was killed in "the heat of the battle".

"I would have preferred that he faced justice, either in a Libyan court or in the International Criminal Court in the Hague," he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Burt told Sky News: "It would have been preferable as far as we're concerned for anyone in the regime to face justice through a court of law, but circumstances don't always work that way."

He added: "They (the National Transitional Council) have promised an inquiry into the circumstances of Muammar Gaddafi's death and we shall be expecting them to do just that."

On Sunday, Libya's interim administration announced the country's liberation with a ceremony in Benghazi.

Mr Hammond said the UK had a responsibility to help in the country's reconstruction following the end of the civil war.

He said the UK and other countries which had been involved in military intervention in Libya have a "commitment to help them with their reconstruction".