Last week's news is that Muammar Gaddafi is facing investigation for crimes against humanity. Is this really wise?
I mean, in all honesty, Gaddafi of today is not much different from Gaddafi of one month ago, and I don't think it is a surprise to anyone that when his power is challenged, a dictator's reaction is thoroughly violent. How come his government was until so very recently deemed fit to judge others as a member of the UN Human Rights Council? To get commendable peer reviews from Venezuela, Zimbabwe and North Korea?
Just a few weeks ago, the rest of the world was willing enough to play along with Gaddafi, and no one should pretend that his attitude towards humanity today has somehow suddenly changed. We all knew all the time who and what he is. So what do we reach by trying to drag him to a court now, and not then?
What actually is the impact of trying to get Gaddafi to the International Criminal Court? I think the only thing that can be achieved is that Gaddafi has to cling to power in fear of his life and liberty. Wouldn't it be much better if he was able to collect a moderate proportion of his savings - yes, taken from his people and nation - and retire quietly to some place safe, like Nicaragua or North Korea? Let him have a nice villa, 24h security, the Ukrainian nurse, and a few million $US on his bank accounts. No need for more, but let him have enough to live comfortably. Forget the stupid civil war, just don't have it at all. The net impact is that whatever Gaddafi gets to keep is probably less than what is destroyed during one day of civil war. Let him have it, and be rid of him.
You could of course ask, what about justice? Isn't it valuable that dictators are brought to justice?
Well, the ICC does not seem to be able to deliver it. It suffers from the same problems as the tribunal for Yugoslavian wars, where Slobodan Milosevic was allowed to play around for months and years, and in the end, he's still as much a hero for some and as much a villain for others, and not the tragically condemned and convicted man he was supposed to be. There's no end to the various conspiracy theories.
Let's just all admit that Gaddafi has been playing us for 40 years; if he agrees to retire quietly, let's encourage him to do so, forget about the hassle, and try to help building a new, better Libya. Which I hope, possibly in vain, is not going to be a crazy theocracy.