Category: Mass Murder
Date: 1971 - 1979
Crime: As the President of Uganda, his dictatorial rule resulted in the death's of between 100,000 and 500,000 people. His policies were characterized by violent human rights abuses, repression, ethnic cleansings and gross economic mismanagement.
Biography: Amin never authorized an official account of his life, therefore there is controversy surrounding when and where he was born. Most believe he was born in 1925, was abandoned by his father and eventually raised by his mother's family. Amin went to an Islamic school in 1941, but dropped out after a few years to join the British Colonial Army. By 1961, he became one of the first two black Africans to be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. By 1963, he was promoted to Deputy commander of the Army. In the late 60's, Amin began secretly recruiting support for an overthrow of the current regime in Uganda. His military coup was successful and in January 1971, Amin had gained power. Within a month, he instituted military law and repealed many of the people's rights. He purged the military of supporters of the previous regime in mass executions and forcing many others into exile in neighboring Tanzania. He soon targeted other ethnic groups, religious leaders, journalists, judges, lawyers and intellectuals. At one point, the killings were so excessive, the number of bodies thrown into the River Nile, actually clogged the Hydro-Electric Dam in Jinja. In the mid 1970's, Amin's behavior became increasingly more erratic as his relationship with the outside world continued to be strained due to his policies. There are unsubstantiated reports that Amin turned to cannibalism and that he mutilated one of his wives. These views have been portrayed in several motion pictures and media accounts. By 1978, Amin's power base had fallen apart. Many of his advisors and supporters had been killed or fled into exile. Finally, the tensions between Amin and neighboring Tanzania, resulted in Amin's ill-suited declaration of war, resulting in the Tanzania People's Defence Force crushing Amin's depleted army. Amin fled to Libya and eventually settled in Saudi Arabia where he lived an obscure existence until his death on August 16, 2004.