Erich Honecker, the former dictator of the former East Germany, has become a pathetic figure. Old, sick with cancer, exiled from his homeland, he is presently holed up in the Chilean embassy in Moscow, hoping the North Koreans might give him refuge. No one really wants him -- no one, that is, except the Germans, who want to put him on trial for ordering the shooting of desperate people trying to scale the now fallen Berlin Wall.
It is possible that Honecker may have committed crimes against humanity as defined in treaties and conventions and at the international tribunals. If that's the case, Honecker should be tried under international law, not the law of one nation.
But if Honecker is to be tried, why should we allow other dictators to flee their countries, often with enraged mobs hot on their heels, to live in luxury as expatriates? For years Ferdinand Marcos lived in luxury in Hawaii. Today Alfredo Stroessner, the longtime dictator of Paraguay, lives well in Brazil. Jean-Claude Duvalier, the second-generation dictator of Haiti, lives in France. Each of these men had hands every bit as bloody as Honecker's.