The greatest tragedy of all was that this butcher of innocents would never be called to account for his crimes.
~ A classic Karma Houdini

A "Karma Houdini" is someone who isn't adequately punished for their villainous actions, and escapes justice by "pulling a Houdini" (disappearing) from karma. Many scapegoats have eventually become karma houdinis, due to how much they suffer which eventually covers up their actions in the future.

A Karma Houdini, in this context, has one of the following traits:

  • the villain simply died; in a ruler's case, while still in power (examples: Joseph StalinMao Zedong, Kim il Sung, Kim Jong-il, Francisco Franco, Meles Zenawi, etc.)
  • the villain was deposed or put in a vulnerable position, but he/she escaped prosecution (example: Idi Amin)
  • the villain never got caught (example Jack the Ripper)
  • the villain is still alive today, and is either in an invulnerable position or on the run.
  • the villain committed suicide before he/she could be punished for his/her crimes (example: Adolf Hitler).

NOTE: no matter how painless the death or imprisonment, deceased(unless they have died of old age) and imprisoned villains do not count as karma houdinis, with very few exceptions.