"Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is welcome to live in the East African nation of Uganda, the president’s spokesman told the Associated Press on Wednesday, in what appears to be the first country to offer him refuge... The spokesman for Uganda’s president, Tamale Mirundi... said Uganda’s policy is to accept asylum seekers, especially because so many Ugandans fled the country during the longtime rule of dictator Idi Amin." “So we have soft spots for asylum seekers. Gadhafi would be allowed to live here if he chooses to do so,” Mirundi said."
When dictators exit their countries, save for the occasional appearance before a criminal courts, they might often be forgotten. But what happens to dictators in exile? Can they keep their money? Are they allowed the same rights and privileges as other citizens? And who keeps an eye on them?
The answers aren't so clear. While some dictators live out their exiles in ease and relative luxury, others haven't fared so well.
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali -Tunisia
The former president of Tunisia, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the first leader kicked out of office in a wave of anti-government demonstrations throughout the Middle East, ended up in Saudi Arabia, "where the royal family welcomed him with open arms," according to the Christian Science Monitor. But all did not end well for the leader. Foreign Policy reports that the European Union froze his bank accounts, and Interpol requested his apprehension and extradition.
The second leader swept out of power in Middle East unrest was rumored to have fled to Saudi Arabia, but the Guardian reported he is in fact under house arrest, "according to a statement by Egypt's ruling generals, countering speculation that the 82-year-old has gone to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment."
Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier - Haiti
The Haitian dictator, who came to power at the age of 19 and called himself 'president-for-life', was ousted in 1986, after ruling the Caribbean nation for 15 years. He then lived in exile in France, but was never granted formal political asylum. From the AP:
"Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier started out his French exile living large on the Riviera: He drove a Ferrari, went on couture shopping sprees and lived in a gated villa protected by guards with assault rifles. Then came an expensive divorce, a succession of modest apartments and a low-profile existence.
"Baby Doc" serves as a good example of the shifting fortunes of dictators in decline. Where they once were allowed to ride off into the sunset, today's former-dictators face asset-seizure, court appearances, and more.
Froeign Policy's Scott Horton wrote about the new life of former dictators:
“Exile isn't what it used to be; over the last 30 years, things have gotten increasingly difficult for dictators in flight. Successor regimes launch criminal probes; major efforts are mounted to identify assets that may have been stripped or looted by the autocrat, or more commonly, members of his immediate family."
Will Gaddafi endure the same fate? If the International Criminal Court has its way, he just might. Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told AP that he is "100 percent" sure Gaddafi will be charged with crimes against humanity. The ICC is already working with international organizations like Interpol to see that that happens.
What do you think will happen to Gaddafi, should he be forced out of Libya? Let us know in the comments.