News Release

Accountability: Scott McClellan and John Bolton Citizen Arrest


The Washington Post has on its front page a piece headlined “Ex-Press Aide Writes That Bush Misled U.S. on Iraq.”

The British newspaper The Telegraph features a piece today: “John Bolton To Be Target of Citizen’s Arrest at Hay Festival: John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, faces a citizen’s arrest when he addresses an audience at the Hay Festival in Wales this evening.” The piece begins: “George Monbiot, the journalist and activist, is planning the action because he believes Mr. Bolton is a ‘war criminal.'”

Falk is professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University and distinguished visiting professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of more than 20 books including The Costs of War: International Law, the UN, and World Order after Iraq.

He said today: “As we see from today’s news, even former White House spokesperson McClellan is admitting that the administration orchestrated events and information to push for the invasion of Iraq in defiance of the UN Charter. This amounts to an aggressive war. Attempts by citizens like George Monbiot to hold officials accountable stem from the fact that the governmental institutions have failed in their duty to hold such individuals accountable for violations of international law. The Center for Constitutional Rights formally urged the prosecution of Rumsfeld in Germany and France, but those cases were dismissed for political reasons. There were attempts to do citizen arrests against [then-Secretary of State Henry] Kissinger and other U.S. officials during the Vietnam War. Having structures to ensure accountability of government officials for international crimes of state are an elementary facet of a real democracy in our globalized world.”
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Monbiot is author of numerous books including The Age of Consent: A Manifesto for a New World Order. His office released a statement today: “Bolton was one of the key initiators of the war against Iraq. …

“This appears to be the first time that a citizen’s arrest of one of the architects of the Iraq war has been attempted. … John Bolton was instrumental in preparing and initiating the Iraq war, by disseminating false claims through the State Department and by orchestrating the sacking of an official who tried to provide a negotiated settlement.

“The Nuremberg Principles, which form the basis of customary international law concerning armed action, state that the following action is a crime punishable under international law: ‘participation in a common plan’ for the ‘preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances.’

“The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg ruled that ‘to initiate a war of aggression … is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime.’

“The 2003 war with Iraq launched by the United States and the United Kingdom qualifies under international law both as a war of aggression … and as a war in violation of international treaties (primarily the UN Charter).

“In the Guardian Tuesday, Mr. Bolton denies that he is a war criminal.

“Many people accept that the launching of the Iraq war was an international crime, but no one has yet been prepared to act on it by arresting one of the perpetrators. Monbiot intends to arrest John Bolton as he comes off the stage after speaking at the festival and to hand him over to the police.”

Monbiot just posted “Arresting John Bolton: The Charge Sheet” on his web page.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167