President of Romania, 1967-1989
His rigidly Stalinist regime ended in the December 1989 uprising and revolution. After a chaotic two-hour trial on Christmas Day, Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, were taken outside and shot. Romania then abolished capital punishment. The country joined Nato in 2004 and the EU in 2007, but strides towards economic growth were set back by recession and it faces major issues with infrastructure, health services and corruption.
President of Uganda, 1971-1979
The "butcher of Africa" was overthrown by a rebellion in 1979. He fled to a comfortable exile in Libya, Iraq and later Saudi Arabia, where he died peacefully in 2003. The power vacuum was filled with dozens of Ugandan and Tanzanian military and civilian factions before a new dictator, Milton Obote, moved in. Obote's brutal regime was cut short by a coup, and in 1986 the guerrilla leader Yoweri Museveni was sworn in as President. He continues to refuse to step down.
President of Iraq, 1979-2003
Executed by hanging in 2006 after being tried and convicted of crimes against humanity by the Iraqi Special Tribunal. He was deposed by the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, which sent the country into violent turmoil. By 2008, 4.7 million Iraqis were refugees and an estimated five million children had been orphaned. Successful democratic elections were held in 2005 and 2010, and Iraq has moved from second place on the Failed States Index in 2007 to seventh in 2010. US troops will finally leave Iraq at the end of this year.
President of Liberia, 1997-2003
Now on trial at the Hague for war crimes. He resigned in 2003 as a result of growing national and international pressure and went into exile in Nigeria, which, in 2006, handed him over to the Hague after a request from Liberia's then newly elected President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Sirleaf won the Nobel peace prize last month.
Leader of Cambodia 1975-1979
Died, possibly poisoned, in 1998 while in custody awaiting transfer to an international tribunal. He led the Khmer Rouge as a resistance group in Cambodia until 1996. After his death the remaining Khmer Rouge leaders apologised for killing more than 1.5 million people. Since 1990 Cambodia has recovered, demographically and economically, although the psychological scars remain. Trials are still continuing against those who ran its torture centres. The constitutional monarchy was restored in 1993.
MENGISTU HAILE MARIAM
Leader of Ethiopia's military junta,1974-1987, and president, 1987-1991.
Presided over years of famine and terror when thousands died or disappeared. He is now living in luxury in Zimbabwe. A trial in absentia found him guilty of genocide and sentenced him to death in 2008. Economic recovery is dented by the ongoing war with Eritrea and border conflicts with Somalian warlords.