Gaddafi face justice
A drawing of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on a wall in Benghazi May 2011. The Colonel may well face a similar fate if he is captured by NTC forces. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Since seizing power in his 1969 military coup, Col. Muammar Gaddafi ruled unchallenged over the beleaguered Libyan nation for 42 years. Now on the run from NATO-backed rebel forces, and with his loyalists cornered by the National Transitional Council in his hometown of Sirte, Gaddafi seems to face a dark and uncertain future.

If he were to remain on the run, Gaddafi might seek refuge in Saudi Arabia, which took Tunisia's fallen dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and hosted Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh for three months after he was wounded in an attack.

He could, alternatively, try to hide out in the Libyan desert and set up a base from which to organise a resistance to the NTC. But this option looks increasingly unlikely as his loyalists are hounded out by rebel forces across the country.

If he were captured, Gaddafi could potentially face a similar fate to Iraq's Saddam Hussein or Liberia's Charles Taylor. The International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and his brother-in-law Abdullah al-Senussi, on 27 June.

With the UN's recent recognition of NTC, it will be up to Libya's transitional government to decide how the ousted dictator will be held accountable for the atrocities committed under his watch. It could hand him over to The Hague or, alternatively, make him face Libyan law and a potential death penalty.

For the time being, Gaddafi's whereabouts are still unknown, although speculation abounds. General consensus would have him hiding in plain sight in the Sahara, but there have been reported sightings of the eccentric colonel (not all entirely serious) in places as far-flung as Zimbabwe, Mali and Belarus. A spoof blog set up by the Hedonists's Guide, an online luxury city guide, has posted pictures of the Libyan dictator seemingly enjoying the comforts of life in London.

Wherever Gaddafi may be, it seems increasingly likely that his future will be a bleak one and that he will be lucky not to suffer the fate of Saddam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden. Let history be a lesson to him.