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February 19, 2003

CONTINUING TO THUMB HIS NOSE AT THE EUROPEAN UNION, Jacques Chirac is entertaining Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe despite European sanctions that are supposed to bar such visits. But there's a twist:

Peter Tatchell, the human rights campaigner, has formally launched a bid to put Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president, on trial in Paris for torture. . . .

Mr Tatchell filed his formal complaint with the French authorities just as Mr Mugabe arrived in Paris to attend a Franco-Africa summit. The two men are old adversaries. The last time they met Mr Tatchell was beaten up and left in a Brussels gutter after trying to intercept the president in a hotel lobby.

That's our Jacques -- soft on dictators, but tough on people who don't like dictators. At least, he's soft on dictators who might enter into lucrative oil deals, or lease French airplanes!

UPDATE: Here's more on Chirac. Reader Chris Fountain emails that he's disappointed with Chirac's simplistic unilateralism.