Mugabe: up the long ladder and down the short rope

Why should the rules of the Tyrants’ Guild — aka “international law” — allow mass murderers in office to travel freely? Give the son-of-a-bitch a fair trial and hang him.

Yes, I know it would be a violation of international law if Robert Mugabe’s colleagues in the African Union had him taken out of the meeting in Cairo and shot, or at least shipped to the Hague to stand trial. But the custom that mass murderers in office travel freely without fear of arrest is what Shakespeare called “a custom more honored in the breach than in the observance” (by which he meant, not the current usage of “a rule acknowledged but usually not followed” but “a rule that it would be more honorable to break than to keep;” the reference is to the Danish custom of firing a cannon every time the king takes a drink, which Hamlet thinks advertises the Danes as a nation of drunkards).

Too much of international law is just the guild rules of the tyrants’ guild, and ought to be gotten rid of.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: