This House Will Offer Dictators Immunity If They Step Down:
I disagree with the statement ‘This House Will Offer Dictators Immunity if They Step Down’ and therefore, the title of my speech is ‘Dictatorial Immunity Equates to Criminal Impunity’.
From a moral perspective, the answer is relatively straightforward. If the international community is at all serious about enforcing human rights then those who have engaged in repression and unlawful usurpation of power, such as Hosni Mubarak and other Arab autocrats, should face punishment. Furthermore, the obligation to bring former tyrants to justice is so great that it overrides any considerations of sovereignty, jurisdiction or amnesty.
There are three main points that I would like to elaborate on.
The first being, that incentivising dictators exacerbates the threat that dictators pose throughout the world. History suggests that encouraging current dictators to leave office by making retirement more attractive will also encourage future dictators to seize power, by lowering the risk that they will face prosecution. Given that 60 countries, representing nearly a third of the world’s population, are only partly free and therefore at risk of moving further into totalitarianism, this should be a grave concern. There is also the possibility that lenient treatment may allow dictators to regroup and mount a comeback, like Joaquin Balaguer in the Dominican Republic.
Bueno de Mesquita, a professor at New York University, admits that allowing leaders to leave with their loot may give them a green light to plunder during their stay in office. He also confesses that he would not be happy with dictators enjoying an opulent retirement where they stay in exotic villas in Spain, compared to the alternative, which is having their head on a pike.
The second thing I want to talk about is the need for justice. The choice between amnesty and accountability is not easy. As a carrot, to push out a dictator, amnesty offers a chance to...