There seems to be a bit of a pattern around the world in repressive countries. 1 - There is a peaceful protest. 2 - The government go too far in an attempt to stop the protest. 3 - There is more protest, now partly due to the government response to the original protest. 4 - The government panics and starts doing really bad things. 5 - A revolutionary movement starts with an aim of replacing the government and bringing the criminals to justice.
Once you get to this stage then it is too late. The dictator can't stand down because if he does he will be in jail or killed. The rebels can't stand down because if they do the dictator will put them in jail or worse. So you get stuck in a path to civil war or revolution.
How can this chain be broken?
Should you, at stage 4, offer the leaders a safe haven from prosecution in another country if they agree to hand over power to the people?
I will be clear and say that for me, the answer is no. This would probably lead to reduction in deaths and damage but it breaks the fundamental principle that nobody is above international law.
I would be interested to hear other people’s thoughts...