Posted by: Lister | May 28, 2008

Arresting John Bolton

George Monbiot is going to try:

On Wednesday 28th May 2008, I will attempt a citizen’s arrest of John Robert Bolton, former Under-Secretary of State, US State Department, for the crime of aggression, as established by customary international law and described by Nuremberg Principles VI and VII.

Well, good luck to him.

No news so far.

Update: The attempt failed. The Guardian:

As Bolton, a former US ambassador to the UN, ended an hour-long discussion at the Hay festival, Monbiot, who had earlier challenged him for alleged breaches of the postwar Nuremberg Principles, defining war crimes, moved towards the stage waving a charge sheet. But security staff intervened and bundled Monbiot out of the tent as 20 supporters chanted “war criminal” and waved placards. The comedian Marcus Brigstocke, who tried to pursue Bolton as he left the other side of the tent, was also blocked by security staff.

When challenged by Monbiot during the debate to say why – in planning, preparing and waging war against Saddam Hussein – he was any different from Nazi war criminals condemned at Nuremberg, Bolton cited Iraq’s defiance of the UN resolutions 687 and 678, which underpinned the 1991 Iraq war and ceasefire. That released other parties from the obligation to the ceasefire, he told Monbiot.

[…] Afterwards, Monbiot, a contributor to the Guardian, said: “I’m disappointed I couldn’t reach him, but I made what I believe to be the first attempt ever to arrest one of the perpetrators of the Iraq war, and I would like to see that followed up.”

From Monbiot’s blog, linked above:

John Bolton orchestrated the sacking of the head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Jose Bustani. Bustani had offered to resolve the dispute over Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction, and therefore to avert armed conflict. He had offered to seek to persuade Saddam Hussein to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention, which would mean that Iraq was then subject to weapons inspections by the OPCW. As the OPCW was not tainted by the CIA’s infiltration of UNSCOM, Bustani’s initiative had the potential to defuse the crisis over Saddam Hussein’s obstruction of UNMOVIC inspections.

Bustani survived a no-confidence vote, but was sacked after the USA threatened to cut funding to the organisation. From wiki:

Bustani was appointed director general of the OPCW in 1997. His four-year term was due to expire in 2001. However, he was unanimously reelected to this position (with considerable US support) one year early, in May 2000. This gave him a new four-year term running from 2001-2005.

[…] Soon after, Bustani fell out of favour with the US, who now began to lobby aggressively for Bustani’s removal, in a campaign orchestrated by John Bolton.[1] Finally, at the behest of John R. Bolton the US ambassador to the OPCW a special meeting was held in The Hague on Sunday, April 21, 2002. Following what are reputed to have been both secretive and very tempestuous deliberations, a vote was held, with Bustani’s removal being carried by a vote of 48-6, with 43 abstentions. This was the first time in history that the head of a major international organization was removed during his/her term of office.

[…] Bustani filed a complaint with the International Labour Organization Administrative Tribunal, which a year later set aside the dismissal decision, and provided moral as well as material financial compensation to Bustani; Bustani did not seek reinstatement.

Monbiot quotes from Bolton’s book Surrender is Not an Option:

“I directed that we begin explaining to others that the US contribution to the OPCW might well be cut if Bustani remained”.

“I met with Bustani to tell him he should resign … If he left now, we would do our best to give him ‘a gracious and dignified exit’. Otherwise we intended to have him fired”.

“I stepped in to tank the protocol, and then to tank Bustani”.

So this attempt failed. But, if at first you don’t succeed: try, try again.


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