Famous 21st Century Dictators

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Rank the most Brutal Famous 21st Century Dictators

 1 Saddam Hussein

Saddam Hussein
82
Famous As: President of Iraq (1979-2003)
Birthdate: April 28, 1937
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Al Awja, Iraq
Died: December 30, 2006

Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq as its president from 1979 to 2003. Described as one of the last of the great dictators of the 20th century, his regime caused the deaths of at least 250,000 Iraqis. Saddam was deposed in 2003 when a U.S led coalition invaded Iraq. Accused of crimes against humanity, Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death in 2006.

 2 Bashar al-Assad

Bashar al-Assad
18
Famous As: President of Syria
Birthdate: September 11, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Damascus

Bashar al-Assad is the current president of Syria and has been serving in this position since 17 July 2000. Over the years, he has also had a major impact on Syria as the commander-in-chief of the country's Armed Forces. In 2011, his decision to impose military sieges on protesters participating in the Arab Spring resulted in the ongoing Syrian Civil War.

 3 Muammar Gaddafi

Muammar Gaddafi
37
Famous As: Prime Minister of Libya (1970-72)
Birthdate: June 7, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Qasr Abu Hadi, Libya
Died: October 20, 2011
A revolutionary, politician and political theorist, Muammar Gaddafi seized power in Libya from King Idris in a bloodless coup in 1969 and became its authoritarian dictator for more than 40 years. He initially gained popularity and support; however, later, his increased dominance, support for international terrorism, and human rights violation turned people against him. He was eventually overthrown.
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 4 Manuel Noriega

Manuel Noriega
15
Famous As: Former Panamanian Dictator
Birthdate: February 11, 1934
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Panama City
Died: May 29, 2017

Panamanian politician and military officer, Manuel Noriega, was the de facto ruler of Panama from 1983 to 1989. As an army man, he overthrew President Arnulfo Arias in a coup in 1968 and became the de facto ruler of Panama a few years later. He was a controversial leader and his rule has been described as a dictatorship.

 5 Omar al-Bashir

Omar al-Bashir
9
Famous As: Former President of Sudan
Birthdate: January 1, 1944
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hosh Bannaga, Sudan

Omar al-Bashir is a Sudanese politician who served as the seventh president of Sudan. A former military officer, he is the founder of the National Congress Party that remained the dominant political party in the country until 2019. He was deposed in a coup d'état the same year and subsequently arrested and convicted on multiple corruption charges.

 6 Pervez Musharraf

Pervez Musharraf
8
Birthdate: August 11, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Daryaganj, New Delhi

Pervez Musharraf is a former Pakistani President and army chief who overthrew his country’s elected government in a coup to assume power as its chief executive. Kargil infiltration, confrontation with India and a steep rise in Pakistan’s GDP marked the presidency of the now-retired four-star general. He was awarded capital punishment for treason, but the court order was annulled later.

 7 Efraín Ríos Montt

Efraín Ríos Montt
4
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 16, 1926
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Huehuetenango

Efraín Ríos Montt was a Guatemalan politician and military officer. From 1982 to 1983, he served as the 26th president of Guatemala. His brief tenure as the de facto president was one of the bloodiest periods during the then-ongoing Guatemalan Civil War. In 2013, he was sentenced to 80 years in prison for crimes against humanity and genocide.

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 8 Wojciech Jaruzelski

Wojciech Jaruzelski
3
Famous As: President of the Republic of Poland (1989-90)
Birthdate: July 6, 1923
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kurów, Poland
Died: May 25, 2014

Wojciech Jaruzelski was a Polish politician and military officer. From 1981 to 1989, he was the dictator of the Polish People's Republic. He also served as the prime minister and president of Poland during his influential political career. He also served as the Polish People's Army's last commander-in-chief; Polish People's Army became the Polish Armed Forces in 1990.

 9 Kim Jong-un

Kim Jong-un
136
Famous As: Supreme Leader of North Korea (Since 2011)
Birthdate: January 8, 1984
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Wonsan, North Korea

The supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, is considered a ruthless man and rules over his people with an iron fist. He has been accused of human rights violations and is said to have ordered the execution of several North Korean officials. 

 10 Kim Jong-il

Kim Jong-il
52
Famous As: Supreme Leader of North Korea (1997-2011)
Birthdate: February 16, 1941
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vyatskoye, Russia
Died: December 17, 2011

Kim Jong-il was the second Supreme Leader of North Korea. He assumed this position from his father Kim Il-sung in 1994 and served in this position until his own death in 2011. His reign was repressive and totalitarian and was marked by food scarcity.

 11 Emilio Eduardo Massera

Emilio Eduardo Massera
4
Famous As: Political figure
Birthdate: October 19, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Parana, Argentina
Died: November 8, 2010

 12 Jean-Baptiste Bagaza

Jean-Baptiste Bagaza
4
Famous As: President
Birthdate: August 29, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rutovu, Burundi
Died: May 4, 2016

 13 Moussa Traoré

Moussa Traoré
2
Famous As: President of Mali from 1968 to 1991
Birthdate: September 25, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kayes, Mali
Died: September 15, 2020