LONDON, Oct 20 (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 honour 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."
RICHARD DICKER, HEAD OF INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE PROGRAM, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
"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 STUDIES
"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 neutralise 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, demobilise and integrate the various armed groups that have contributed to Gaddafi's downfall into new national security structures."
SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER FREDRIK REINFELDT
We are, assuming that it is correct, witnessing world history. We must remember that it was only a short while ago that Muammar Gaddafi, with superior military force, stood ready to carry out a massacre on the people of Benghazi. Now he is gone. This is a great victory for all those among the Libyan people that rose, it is a great victory for the international community that managed to make a difference, and it is a great victory for the Swedes that, I say with pride, contributed to making a difference in this venture."
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 RELATIONS
"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 govt 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 [in the sense of no NATO casualties, few civilian deaths] 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 rumours he might have fled south and be hiding with local tribes which could have destabilised 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."
ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER FRANCO FRATTINI
"It's a moment of liberation for the country. But it must not be a time for wars between different groups and tribal vendettas. It's a time for reconciliation ... What concerns me most is that this victory of the Libyan people must not become polluted by a phase of reprisals in which loyalists of the regime are searched for house by house."
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 organised 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 NTC;
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 memebrs 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 mobilise 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."