The argument over what action to take against Saddam Hussein is driven by the rhetoric of war. But can peaceful, legal action against Iraq's ruthless dictator be effective? The long campaign to bring Augusto Pinochet of Chile to justice offers an encouraging precedent.
Whether former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet is extradited to Spain will depend in the final analysis on a political decision by Spain's centre-right head of government, Jose Maria Aznar, say legal experts.
When Spanish justice finishes with Pinochet, the United States should seek his extradition to Washington for his role in the murders of Letelier and Moffitt, which happened just a mile from the White House.
As Augusto Pinochet continues to fight extradition from England to face charges of crimes against humanity, the historical record of US support for the former Chilean dictator remains disappeared, like so many victims of his violent regime.
The Institute for Policy Studies applauds the arrest of Chilean General Augusto Pinochet, whose regime ordered the assassination of two IPS colleagues, Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt, in 1976 and carried out other documented acts of international terrorism.
While recently declassified documents are conspicuously lacking in information about the US role in helping Pinochet take and consolidate power, they are rich in detail about the inner workings of his bloody regime.
The prosecution of Pinochet, whose name became a virtual synonym for state-sponsored terror during his seventeen-year regime, has become a historic turning point for international and national efforts to hold him and other tyrants accountable.
The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) is greatly encouraged by recent signs that the US government has intensified their investigation of the 1976 car bomb murders of IPS colleagues Orlando Letelier and Ronni Karpen Moffitt by agents of former Chilean General Augusto Pinochet.
Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who ruled Chile as a despot for 17 years, has been arrested in London after Spain asked that he be extradited for the presumed murders of hundreds of Chilean and Spanish citizens.
Judge Garzón, who works as an investigating magistrate rather than a judge on the bench, took more than five months to conclude that a Spanish court could have jurisdiction in the case against Pinochet.
Those who brought the suit against Pinochet, in and outside Chile, hope that the case might allow some measure of belated justice and ease the pain they continue to suffer as a result of the dictator's atrocities.
Treading into a political and diplomatic confrontation it tried to avoid, the US has decided to declassify some secret government documents on the killing and torture conducted by the former Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet.