Published on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 by The Guardian/UK
Bounties for War Criminals: We Should Not 'Move On' from Mass Murder
Chilcot and the courts won't do it, so it is up to us to show that we won't let an illegal act of mass murder go unpunished
The only question that counts is the one that the Chilcot inquiry  won't address: was the war with
But there's a problem with official inquiries in the
Others have explored it, however. Two weeks ago a Dutch inquiry , led by a former supreme court judge, found that the invasion had "no sound mandate in international law". Last month Lord Steyn, a former law lord, said that "in the absence of a second UN resolution authorising invasion, it was illegal ". In November Lord Bingham, the former lord chief justice, stated that, without the blessing of the UN, the
Under the United Nations charter, two conditions must be met before a war can legally be waged. The parties to a dispute must first "seek a solution by negotiation" (article 33) . They can take up arms without an explicit mandate from the UN security council only "if an armed attack occurs against [them]" (article 51 ). Neither of these conditions applied. The
We also know that the
As the resignation letter on the eve of the war from Elizabeth Wilmshurst , then deputy legal adviser to the Foreign Office, revealed, her office had "consistently" advised that an invasion would be unlawful without a new UN resolution. She explained that "an unlawful use of force on such a scale amounts to the crime of aggression". Both Wilmshurst and her former boss, Sir Michael Wood, will testify before the Chilcot inquiry tomorrow. Expect fireworks.
Without legal justification, the war with
There are two problems. The first is that neither the government nor the opposition has any interest in pursuing these crimes, for the obvious reason that in doing so they would expose themselves to prosecution. The second is that the required legal mechanisms don't yet exist. The governments that ratified the
Some countries, mostly in eastern Europe and central
All those who believe in justice should campaign for their governments to stop messing about and allow the international criminal court to start prosecuting the crime of aggression. We should also press for its adoption into national law. But I believe that the people of this nation, who re-elected a government that had launched an illegal war, have a duty to do more than that. We must show that we have not, as Blair requested, "moved on" from
But how? As I found when I tried to apprehend John Bolton , one of the architects of the war in George Bush's government, at the Hay festival in 2008, and as Peter Tatchell found when he tried to detain Robert Mugabe, nothing focuses attention on these issues more than an attempted citizen's arrest. In October I mooted the idea of a bounty to which the public could contribute, payable to anyone who tried to arrest Tony Blair if he became president of the European Union. He didn't of course, but I asked those who had pledged money whether we should go ahead anyway. The response was overwhelmingly positive.
So today I am launching a website - www.arrestblair.org  - whose purpose is to raise money as a reward for people attempting a peaceful citizen's arrest of the former prime minister. I have put up the first £100, and I encourage you to match it. Anyone meeting the rules I've laid down will be entitled to one quarter of the total pot: the bounties will remain available until Blair faces a court of law. The higher the reward, the greater the number of people who are likely to try.
At this stage the arrests will be largely symbolic, though they are likely to have great political resonance. But I hope that as pressure builds up and the crime of aggression is adopted by the courts, these attempts will help to press governments to prosecute. There must be no hiding place for those who have committed crimes against peace. No civilised country can allow mass murderers to move on.
© 2010 Guardian News and Media Limited
George Monbiot is the author of the best selling books The Age of Consent: a manifesto for a new world order  and Captive State: the corporate takeover of Britain . He writes a weekly column for the Guardian newspaper. Visit his website at www.monbiot.com 
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs