(By George Monbiot)
If former British Prime Minister Tony Blair thought that the Iraq inquiry mas making settling his legacy uncomfortable, he may have no idea just how bad things can be.
George Monbiot recently offered a reward for anyone who successfully manages to place Blair under a citizen's arrest.
Some would interpret this as essentially placing a bounty on a former head of government. Others, like UBC Professor and former NDP candidate Michael Byers, see it differently.
"Speaking within the British context, with the British police being in most instances quite respectful of citizen rights—including in most instances not carrying arms—yes, I think it is a brilliant idea,” Byers said. “I wouldn’t want to recommend someone in another country with less historic respect for citizens’ rights to try this, because the police might react excessively. But certainly in the UK, George Monbiot has thought this out, and the recommendations I think are quite reasonable.”
"I think there is a strong case against Mr. Blair for the crime of aggression,” Byers continued. “The crime of aggression did not make it into the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court because of a lack of agreement among negotiating states, but it is still part of customary international law and exists in the statute books of several countries. So yes, without saying definitively that Blair is guilty, there is a case to be answered. Certainly, from a purely legal perspective, he is open to arrest and prosecution.”
Some, of course, disagree with Monbiot's bounty -- he offers up the first 100 pounds stirling out of his own pocket.
Oddly enough, an arrest of Tony Blair would probably be one of the best things for his party. Facing an election in 2010, Gordon Brown must be thinking that Blair would better serve him anywhere but in the election -- even if that means he's standing trial at the Hague.