In Berlin, Chancellor Angela Merkel said it was “an important day for the Libyans” as the way was finally free for a new start in peace. “Germany is relieved and very happy about that,” she said, adding that Germany would “accompany and support Libya on the road to democracy, rule of law and national reconciliation.”
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle spoke of a turning point.
“We hope Libya begins a new era,” he said. “Qaddafi was a dictator who violated human rights and waged war against his own people.”
Qaddafi was killed on Thursday after being captured in the town of Sirte, where he fled after being forced to leave the capital Tripoli under military pressure from rebel fighters.
It was not immediately clear how he died. Pictures appeared to show him alive but wounded, but rebel leaders said later that Qaddafi had been killed in crossfire after his capture.
International organisations called for a full accounting of his capture and death.
Some German politicians said it would have been better if Qaddafi had been brought to face charges in a court like others before him including former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and Liberian President Charles Taylor.
“Unfortunately with Qaddafi’s death, a legal reappraisal of his crimes is no longer possible,” said Gernot Erler, a Social Democrat MP, a sentiment echoed by Green parliamentary leader Volker Beck.
Others took the opportunity to repeat their criticism of the lack of German involvement in Qaddafi’s overthrow – unlike many of its allies, the country refused to participate in a NATO bombing campaign in support of the rebels.
“The decision was not right,” said Philipp Mißfelder, a foreign policy expert with Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. Yet he said the damage to Germany’s reputation abroad was minimal.