We don’t know how it will end yet, but for the moment, what we’re seeing in Egypt is remarkable, in terms of the spectacle of actual accountability for an Arab ruler:

Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was complicit in shootings of anti-regime protesters during a period of upheaval in the country, a member of an official fact-checking commission said Tuesday.

“Whether the president gave the official order or remained silent knowing the shooting of protesters would take place, he is responsible for the 846 protesters who died during the January 25 revolution, especially since the killing started from Day One,” said Judge Omar Marawan, the commission’s secretary-general.

This is an official government report, not a human rights group’s study or anything like that. It’s highly unusual, in my recollection, to see this level of accountability. Typically the exiled rulers go off to some tropical paradise and remain outside the reach of the law. But the protest movement in Egypt demanded that Mubarak be brought to justice. And that’s happening. It’s actually happening.

The report described the opening of prisons, clearly a high-level decision, as intentional, providing evidence in the form of video surveillance cameras showing security forces allowing prisoners to flee. It also documented security forces firing at protesters and running them over with vehicles.

This evidence then goes to the general prosecutor in Egypt, for use in the ongoing investigation into Mubarak and the key members of his regime, including his sons. Even Omar Suleiman, briefly the Vice President, has been questioned in the probe.

This is real. Mubarak is under detention now and I would say it’s likely that he will be charged soon.

Egypt has a lot of lessons to teach the United States.