It would seem Robert Mugabe's reputation precedes him.
This past year, the world watched as the 84-year-old Zimbabwean dictator terrorized his own people after the disputed presidential election.
After Mugabe was controversially re-elected in March, people across Zimbabwe faced violence, torture and even death for opposing his rule. By July, the opposition party said 113 had died in the conflict. All the while, inflation pushed 2.2 million percent and food ran short on store shelves.
At the height of the crisis, the United Nations Security Council moved to put arms sanctions on Mugabe and restrict his travel outside the country.
It seemed like a surefire pass until two permanent members - China and Russia - vetoed the resolution.
The UK called the veto incomprehensible while the United States questioned Russia's reliability as a partner in the G8. Mugabe welcomed the news and continued to tighten his fist over Zimbabwe.
"I do not think the veto by China and by Russia can be easily justified," said Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. "I do not think it can be easily defended, given what we know is happening in Zimbabwe."
But, for China and Russia, the reason was simple. They claimed it was not the Security Council's responsibility to sanction Mugabe - the situation did not threaten international security.
Despite these claims, there was, perhaps, a far more glaring reason for the veto.
You might remember the An Yue Jiang - a ship laden with Chinese-made arms bound for Zimbabwe this past April. Thankfully, the ship was turned back after South African dock workers protested unloading the cargo. But the ship stands as a symbol of the very lucrative arms trade that China conducts with Zimbabwe.
It's important to point out that China is not alone in its motives. Each of the five permanent members of the Security Council have interests in some controversial places. And, when they wield their veto power for their own political and economic reasons rather than security, it calls the legitimacy of the Council into question.
Veto power is held by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and enables them prevent the adoption of any substantive resolution. Throughout the Cold War, the United States and the then USSR used their veto power against each other. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, that power has been used more sparingly.
Still, the existence of the veto determines how Council conducts business.
Both by actually using the veto and threatening to use it, each permanent member can unilaterally shape the direction of a resolution.
Over the years, it has become common practice for the Council to remove certain language that often weakens the resolution in order to make it pass. Certain conflicts are even left out altogether.
In 2004, for example, a draft resolution regarding the protection of children in armed conflict zones did not include Chechnya and Northern Ireland in the wording. This is because the United Kingdom and Russia opposed naming these areas as armed conflicts.
The real tragedy here is not that a word is deleted from a page or a motion voted down. These resolutions are meant to have real effects on people's lives.
Robert Mugabe is just the latest example of this. The Zimbabwean dictator is still commander of the armed forces. Without sanctions on arms, he has opportunity to buy and use them.
Certainly there many are arguments to be made for Security Council reform. Some would even argue the effectiveness of the United Nations depends on it.
But, until that time, it's important to remember that every veto has consequences. And, those consequences should never be paid for in human lives.