LONDON (Reuters) - Muammar Gaddafi is dead, killed by fighters who overran his hometown and final bastion on Thursday, Libya's new leaders said.
Following is a selection of quotes from analysts, politicians and legal experts.
ALISON SMITH, LEGAL COUNSEL, NO PEACE WITHOUT JUSTICE
"Colonel Gaddafi does not deserve the honor of a battlefield death; his victims deserved that justice be done for the crimes committed against them."
AXEL PONIATOWSKI, PRESIDENT OF THE FRENCH PARLIAMENT'S
FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
"It marks the end of the military campaign. The urgency now in Libya is to disarm the various sides and put in place the democratic process. It's a definitive victory for NATO, which supported the rebels and marks the end of its mission."
LARBI SADIKI, EXPERT ON NORTH AFRICAN POLITICS AT EXETER
The real battle begins now to rein in the so-called 'thuwwar', and integrate them under the legal umbrella of the state in one of its various bureaucracies, army or police. There remains the biggest challenge of all: reconstruction and the battle for good government and equitable and sustainable development. this is brilliant news but lots of work lies ahead, including perhaps reaching for the loyal tribes to start a new page, and rally with other Libyans under the new themes of constitution-framing, institution-building and power-sharing...
GEOFF PORTER, U.S. INDEPENDENT EXPERT ON LIBYA
"While Gaddafi's death will have an impact on Libya's security environment -- i.e. removing the last front of the conflict -- the NTC still faces significant political hurdles. Gaddafi's death does not remove the challenges the NTC has in determining the composition of a new government and the allocation of portfolios by region, religious outlook, and affiliation with the former regime. Consequently, the NTC is only slightly less on the brink of failure today than it was yesterday."
"Clearly, Gaddafi's death will have a positive impact on Libya's security environment. Following the collapse of Bani Walid earlier this month, the taking of Sirte means that no significant pro-Gaddafi bastions remain. This will allow the NTC to declare an end to the conflict and allow it to dedicate more time and resources to the flailing political process. Nevertheless there will still be some dead-enders and residual fighting taking place in and around Sirte and potentially elsewhere in the south. Gaddafi's demise also does not alter the fact that Libya is simply swimming in weapons -- RPGs, assault rifles, anti-aircraft, SAMs, landmines, SEMTEX, even SCUDs. For the moment, these weapons are not likely to be the source of destabilizing violence, but political tensions are running high in the country and the ready availability of weapons is disconcerting and places a question mark over long term security and stability. The only thing that can be said with certainty at this juncture is that Libya is going to be one big arms bazaar for the foreseeable future."
"A key concern for foreign investors and commodity markets is what Gaddafi's death means for Libyan oil. His death is likely to be one of those events where the perception is enough to put slight downward pressure on oil prices after a slight uptick earlier today, even though it has no bearing on Libya's actual ability to increase its export capacity. Over the medium term, his death means that there are now absolutely no doubts that the NATO bombing campaign will officially expire in November. This should allow IOCs to move key personnel back into the country, and into the upstream in particular, to properly determine the extent of the damage to the upstream (both above ground and below). In addition, the end of fighting in Libya will allow oil services companies to more quickly address damage to Libyan oil infrastructure and export terminals. Although Libya is currently producing slightly upwards of 400,000bpd, there are severe export constraints, with only one onshore terminal functioning (Marsa el-Hariga) and Total exporting from its offshore platform. Although the actual requirements to repair other export terminals are still unknown, the formal end of the conflict due to Gaddafi's demise will bring some clarity around these issues and IOCs and markets are likely to respond positively."
RICHARD DICKER, HEAD OF INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE PROGRAM, HUMAN
"Reports of Muammar Gaddafi's death, if accurate, deprives the Libyan people of the chance to see him held to account in a fair trial at the ICC for the egregious crimes he allegedly committed while suppressing peaceful demonstrations in February 2011.
"However, his demise does not extinguish the need to bring to trial those most responsible for serious crimes against humanity and war crimes in Libya to fair trial in The Hague. There are outstanding arrest warrants for two other suspects. In addition, we look to the ICC Prosecutor to investigate allegations of other crimes against humanity and war crimes in Libya. The Prosecutor's mandate enables him to look at possible crimes committed by all sides in the armed conflict."
BERNARD-HENRI LEVY, FRENCH PHILOSOPHER
"My first reaction is relief because as long as Gaddafi was still alive and able to claim support in Sirte or elsewhere, the blood continued to flow, but with Gaddafi arrested, the war ends."
JIM SWIRE, FATHER OF ONE OF THE LOCKERBIE VICTIMS
"There is much still to be resolved and we may now have lost an opportunity for getting nearer the truth."
BRIGADIER BEN BARRY, INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR STRATEGIC
"The fall of Sirte and the demise of Gaddafi have provided a huge political boost to the NTC. They have also neatly avoided the need to try Gaddafi in court with the attendant concern that it could turn into a vindictive show trail and set back the reconciliation process.
"The death of Gaddafi is a blow to his loyalist die-hards but doesn't completely neutralize threat of residual insurgency or terrorism. We should remember that the capture of Saddam Hussein in 2003 did not take wind out of the Iraqi insurgency which had self-sustaining momentum. The subsequent execution appeared vindictive to the Sunnis.
"The NTC will now be considering what form Libya's new security and military forces should take and how to disarm, demobilize and integrate the various armed groups that have contributed to Gaddafi's downfall into new national security structures."
ALI ABDULLATIF AHMIDA, UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND
"This is an end of one era but the fight over the new government has started already. It all depends on how the NTC leadership heals the country and reconciles people ... or takes revenge and settles scores. That may be a dangerous road."
DANIEL KORSKI, SENIOR FELLOW, EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON FORIEGN
"Col Gaddafi's death is a mixed event for the new Libyan authorities. They avoid a drawn-out judicial drama a la Slobodan Milosevic's, which could have rallied people in the ex-dictator's support, but his death also robs the new Libyan government of the opportunity of showing themselves better than he was, by allowing a process of justice to take place. His death, in such violent circumstances, also risks creating a martyr figure out of a man whose deeds in life would never have merited such acclaim."
FRANCOIS HEISEBOURG, CHAIRMAN OF THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE
OF STRATEGIC STUDIES
"Presumably that means the authorities will now move formally to Tripoli and they will have to get to the business of establishing a formal government, which will probably not be an easy task. It had been an avoidable task until now in the name of waiting until combat operations were over.
"If they fail or they succeed that will draw attention in a way that had not been drawn until now, because everybody was saying the fighting was going on and it's understandable they should not be setting up a government. So that element of pressure will build up."
"It's obviously a success for the British and the French without whom none of this would have happened and it can be counted as a success for the coalition operating under the NATO label, largely with America means, so it's obviously a U.S. success as well."
"Libya for the alliance (NATO) was a rather welcome moment as it made everybody forget about Afghanistan for a few brief months. Now, once again NATO is going to be exposed to the Afghan dossier and that's not in great shape to put it mildly. This is going to firmly bring the limelight back to the Afghan account and that is probably not good news, because Libya means success and Afghanistan means trouble."
DANIEL KEOHANE, EU INSTITUTE FOR SECURITY STUDIES
"Obviously it seems Gaddafi was wounded and died of his wounds. Seems he's dead and naturally that changes the situation on the ground in Libya. As for Cameron, Sarkozy and NATO I suspect they will at first be quite relieved because of course that would indicate an end to NATO's operation in Libya. NATO will presumably be able to end its operations very soon -- almost immediately -- so it's not going to be an issue in election campaigns for Sarkozy and Obama and they will be able to claim success.
"But it's still not clear who the rebels are and while it may be the end of the war, it's only the beginning of the transition. So much depends on how the rebels manage the situation on the ground and the question is: do we know who these people are? And as to calling it a success, it depends on your starting point. If the question was to get Gaddafi and protect civilians, well yes, but we don't know if Libya will become a democracy.
"In one sense this is a big tactical success, but the big strategic question is: will Libya become a democracy? And that's still not clear.
"There have definitely been some positive points but it did take longer than one might have suspected given Gaddafi's capabilities and that shows the limits of these kinds of air operations. Air power can only get you so far, so in the end it was the rebels who had to win the war on the ground."
ALAN FRASER, MIDDLE EAST ANALYST, RISK CONSULTANCY, AKE
"It is hugely symbolically important. If Gaddafi has been killed instead of captured, that means they will avoid a long drawnout trial that could potentially have been very divisive and revealed awkward secrets. There had also been rumors he might have fled south and be hiding with local tribes which could have destabilized a number of countries if he had tried to build up some kind of militia to retake power.
"Perhaps just as important is the fall of Sirte which means that the conventional war is now effectively over and the NTC can begin to focus on what needs to be done rebuilding the country."
ALEX WARREN, FRONTIER MEA
If true, this is clearly a momentous event and far more than just a symbolic one. It reduces the likelihood of a serious organized insurgency against the interim authorities and it provides a much greater degree of closure on the past. The apparent capture or death of many of his inner circle is also very important for the same reasons.
GEORGE JOFFE, CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY
"It marks the end of the war and therefore prestige for the NTC for having conducted it successfully. However, Libya's problems are not yet over:
Gaddafi is now a martyr and thus can become the rallying point for irredentist or tribal violence - perhaps not in the immediate future but in the medium-to-long term. The fact that NATO can be blamed for his death is worrying, in terms of regional support and may undermine the legitimacy of the NTC; The key as to whether this happens is whether the NTC can achieve reconciliation - many of the militias are hostile; Another important factor is whether the NTC can achieve disarmament, given its chaotic military structure in which individual brigades listen to their commander and their home areas but not to the notional chain-of-command created by the
Beyond this, too, there are disputes between militia leaders, particularly over the command structure in Tripoli; And there are disputes over the future role of former members of the regime - see what happened to Mohamed Jibril and Abdelfattah Younis.
And finally, there are disputes between different exile groups and those who remained in Libya throughout the regime. All these problems will now come to the surface and will make the transitional process from NTC to Provisional Government that much more difficult."
SHASHANK JOSHI, ROYAL UNITED SERVICES INSTITUTION
(Is there any sign of a counter-revolution?)
"The issue remains that Libya is not a viable country for a major insurgency -- its terrain is unsuited, its 'reactionary' pockets are far apart and disconnected, and there's no coherent ethnic or ideological basis on which to mobilize a rebellion. I think you will see resistance in places, and you will see tensions flare up between the interim authorities and militias, but it won't be anything resembling a counter-revolution."
(Reporting by Reuters bureaux)