A Dictator's Last Tour

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Two weeks after his arrest, General Pinochet may be ahead on points in the courts, but his pursuers have already won a moral victory. "Even if Pinochet gets back to Chile, the reaction from Europe has been such that he won't be able to travel again," says TIME U.N. correspondent William Dowell. "And that sends a message to dictators everywhere." Pinochet won Round 1 earlier this week when Britain's High Court declared him immune from prosecution for crimes allegedly committed while he was Chile's head of state. Then, on Friday Spain's High Court formalized Madrid's extradition request, but a British judge granted Pinochet bail -- while ordering that he remain under police guard at a London hospital.

The general's immediate fate rests with Britain's House of Lords, which will hear an appeal on the immunity ruling. "That could still be reversed, because there is a strong argument that diplomatic immunity extends only to official functions of a head of state and not to crimes against humanity," says Dowell. Even if he wins, though, the very fact of Pinochet's legal battle will have induced a fear of flying among the world's despots.