What Happens to the World's Dictators?


After revolutions in conflict areas around the world many dictators and powerful leaders are removed from power. But what happens with such rulers who have governed their countries for years, sometimes decades.

In the past many of them were able to flee to a country that was willing to take them. Ugandan dictator Idi Amin spent 24 years in exile in Saudi Arabia before he died in 2004. Eric Honecker, East German leader fled to Moscow and then to Chile after Communism collapsed in East Germany.

Finding a safe place to stay is not so easy for ex-leaders. They often go to places where they have personal relationships with other leaders. During the first hours of the revolution in Libya there were reports that claimed Muammar Gaddafi was already on his way to his friend Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. Many countries, especially western ones, however, would refuse to take such a notorious leader. If he behaves, such a person may lead a relatively undisturbed life in a new country.

Some nations may demand the extradition of such a dictator because they want to put him on trial for the crimes he has committed. The creation of the International Criminal Court , based in The Hague, Netherlands, has made it easier for countries to hand over criminals. 114 nations have signed the agreement. Among those that have not signed are the USA, China and India. One of the most famous leaders whom the court took into custody was Augusto Pinochet. The Chilean dictator was arrested in London and handed over to the international court in 1998.


In some cases dictators are caught by rebels and often executed with or without a trial. This happened at the end of the Communist era in Romania. Dictator Nicolai Ceausescu was executed only minutes after a trial held by the people found him guilty of committing serious crimes against his people. . In Iraq Saddam Hussein was given a public trial and hanged on December 30, 2006.



Related Topics


  • agreement = promise made by two people , parties or countries
  • arrest = to take someone to a police station because they may have done something illegal
  • based in = the place where it works
  • behave = act or live in a correct way
  • claim = to say that something is true , even though you cannot prove it
  • collapse = break down
  • creation = making
  • custody = when you put someone into prison until a trial starts
  • demand = want, wish
  • execute = to officially kill someone by the government
  • exile = when you must leave your country and live somewhere else, especially for political reasons
  • extradition = to send someone who has committed a crime back to the country where they came from
  • flee – fled = to leave a place very quickly in order to escape from a dangerous situation
  • govern = to rule a country
  • guilty = if you have done something that is a crime
  • leader = a person who leads or rules a country
  • notorious = famous or well known for bad things
  • power = here: government
  • public = for everyone to see
  • refuse = to say no
  • remove = take away; get rid of
  • ruler = leader
  • serious = very bad
  • sign = to put your name on a document
  • trial = a judge and a journey find out if someone is guilty or not
  • undisturbed = in peace