It's hard out there for an ex-dictator

At Foreign Policy, Scott Horton ventures a guess as to why Hosni Mubarak is still clinging to his position in Egypt.

It may be because 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.

More bad news: war criminals and human-rights abusers are much more likely to be prosecuted now than they once were. (Among Mubarak's problems on that front: collaborating with the U.S. "extraordinary renditions" program.) Horton's take on the likely future for a deposed dictator is fascinating, and I love his author ID: "Scott Horton, an attorney and lecturer at Columbia Law School, has advised sovereigns on the pursuit of kleptocratic predecessors."

Mollie Wilson O’​Reilly is editor-at-large and columnist at Commonweal.

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