If Moammar Gaddafi steps down from power within the next 72 hours, rebels in Libya will not seek to prosecute for crimes they believe he has committed, according to a report in Al Jazeera.
Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of the opposition National Libyan Council has told Al Jazeera: if [Gaddafi] leaves Libya immediately, during 72 hours, and stops the bombardment, we as Libyans will step back from pursuing him for crimes.”
Jalil warned the deadline will not be extended beyond the 72-hour timeframe.
Based on our love for our country we have proposed to the [Gaddafi's] indirect negotiators that a solution can be reached, Jalil stated.
Conditions are that firstly he stops all combat in the fields, secondly that his departure is within 72 hours; thirdly we may waive our right of domestic prosecution ... for the crimes of oppression, persecution, starvation and massacres. We will have to wait and see what the regime's response is.
However, state TV in Libya has denied that Gaddafi is seeking to strike any kind of agreement with the rebel groups.
Adding to the confusion, a spokesman for the opposition National Council based in the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi stated that a representative of Gaddafi had indeed made contact with them to negotiate some kind of deal. Under terms of that pact, Gaddafi and his family would be allowed to keep their assets and avoid any prosecution.
An Al Jazeera reporter pondered the ongoing confusion:
The head of the opposition National Council says there were indirect talks with people from Tripoli, who were given the green light from the regime, she said.
But the spokesman for the National Council denies any of that. He says no one can bargain for the blood spilt during the 42 years of Gaddafi's leadership or the money that is owed to the Libyan people. There is a very chaotic picture coming out here and it could backfire in the face of the Council.
She added that the rebel group’s ultimatum has not resulted in any optimism or euphoria among the wary opposition.
People are worried it will move towards civil war which will continue for months on end. There is a realization that there is no institution in this country - that you have to avoid chaos,” she noted. It's a matter of waiting and seeing. Military commanders are continuing on their mission to get military structure to the group of volunteers [fighters] who are very disorganized.