John Bolton got a rude surprise today when George Monbiot, a columnist for the Guardian newspaper, tried to arrest the former Bush administration official after he finished a talk at a literary festival in Wales. Monbiot, who was stopped by security guards as he tried to make a citizen's arrest, defended his action:
This was a serious attempt to bring one of the perpetrators of the Iraq war to justice, for what is described under the Nuremberg Principles as an international crime," he said.
Apparently, festival organizers had investigated the matter beforehand and determined that the arrest would be unlawful. That makes sense to me, since Bolton isn't a British citizen and it's not at all clear that citizens arrests apply to matters of international law. Nor, in any case, has any relevant international body declared the war illegal. And why would Bolton specifically be culpable when he was never responsible for setting policy? It's also worth noting that both the British and U.S. governments consider the war legal.
But if any Passport readers out there have expertise on this question, please weigh in below or by e-mail. Was Monbiot's stunt as stupid as it seems?
UPDATE: Gideon Rachman comments.