Reports: Qaddafi may get liability-free exile

ROME - AUGUST 29: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi arrives at Ciampino airport on August 29, 2010 in Rome, Italy. Gadaffi is on an official two-day visit to Italy for talks with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The visit also marks the second anniversary of a friendship treaty between Italy and Lybia. (Photo by Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images) Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images

Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi
Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images

It has been one of the foundational cries of the opposition currently fighting against the despotic Muammar Qaddafi: The tyrant must be held accountable for his wrongs against the people and state of Libya.

Now, however, both the Guardian and the Times newspapers in the U.K. are reporting that negotiations are currently underway to tender an offer to Qaddafi in which he will avoid facing the International Criminal Court if he steps down soon.

In London on Tuesday, diplomats from the UN, Arab states, the African Union and dozens of other countries will meet to discuss humanitarian aid and finding a common front in supporting the NATO-led military action in Libya.

At the meeting, Italy will apparently be leading the effort to find Qaddafi a haven in Africa that is beyond the reach of the ICC, reports the Guardian, as the UN's international court is not recognized by many countries around the world, including the U.S. and China.

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"Qaddafi must understand that it would be an act of courage to say: 'I understand that I have to go'," the Italian foreign minister, Franco Frattini, told the Guardian. "We hope that the African Union can find a valid proposal."

Officials for the U.S. and U.K. have said their countries' official position is that Qaddafi must stand trial if and when he is deposed. However, the Times reports both are ready to accept that a deal under which he leaves the country quickly may be in Libya's best interests.

  • Joshua Norman

    Joshua Norman is a Senior Editor at CBSNews.com.

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