Photo: flickr via travellingtamas
Unfortunately for Hosni Mubarak, ditching Egypt and retiring to a cushy life in Switzerland won’t be as easy as it might have been for dictators in a similar position 30 years ago.That’s the argument made by Scott Horton at Foreign Policy Magazine (via Megan McArdle).
Governments around the world have gotten much less tolerant towards strongmen who loot their nations treasury, and then book a private jet outta town. Requests for account freezes and arrest warrants from those newly in power back home are taken pretty seriously.
More menacingly, human rights lawyers and international prosecutors may take a close look at the tools the deposed dictator used to stay in power: Did he torture? Did he authorise the shooting of adversaries? Did he cause his enemies to “disappear”? Was there a mass crackdown that resulted in dozens or hundreds of deaths? A trip to The Hague or another tribunal might be in his future. Slobodan Milosevic, who died while on trial there, and Charles Taylor, whose prosecution there is expected to wind up later this month, furnish examples that any decamping dictator would need to keep in mind.
Mubarak is already putting in place one key strategy — installing a loyal pro to take over once gone — but as Tunisia’s exiled Ben Ali has already learned, it doesn’t matter if that guy can’t even hold onto power for a day.
But if the Egyptian opposition wants Mubarak gone right away, the sooner he feels like he can make a comfortable escape, the better.
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