Muammar Gaddafi, who for decades enjoyed strutting before the public in his finery, has disappeared from the stage as rebels take over his former stronghold Tripoli.
The rebels want to get their hands on him and so does the International Criminal Court. But they must find him first.
Gaddafi has not been seen in public since mid-June. His foes speculate he may not be in the Libyan capital or even in the country. As rebel fortunes have risen, his long televised speeches have given way to scratchy telephone appeals from unknown hideouts.Over his 41-year-rule, Gaddafi created a personality cult, with his image festooned in banners and posters all over Libya and his philosophy spelled out in a 'Green Book'. He presented himself as a father of the nation and, on the international stage, a warrior against colonialism and a campaigner first for pan-Arab and then pan-African interests.
French foreign minister Alain Juppe, whose government has been in the forefront of the international effort to oust Gaddafi, said Paris did not know where he was. British Prime Minister David Cameron said London had no confirmation of his whereabouts either.
If he has fled Tripoli, one possible bolt-hole would be Sirte, his home region, where he could still find some support.
At one point early in the uprising, Britain said he was thought to be on his way to Venezuela and the welcoming arms of his friend Hugo Chavez.
Gaddafi was last seen meeting the president of the International Chess Federation, Russian Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who said then that Gaddadi told him he had no intention of leaving the country.
Gaddafi's son may be tried in Libya
Libya's rebel envoy to Paris said there was a chance Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam could be tried in Libya and not handed over to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
"Everything is possible, it is up to the NTC (National Transitional Council) to decide. It is possible that he will be handed over to the ICC but it's also possible he won't," Mansour Saif al-Nasr said outside the Libyan embassy in Paris.
U.S. keeps freeze on Libya assets for now
The U.S. is keeping in place, for now, a freeze on billions of dollars of Libyan government assets, although the Treasury Department is considering how to provide financial assistance to rebel groups, an Obama administration official said.