human rights news & views

‘Do nothing for evil to triumph’

Last week retired academic Peter McGregor was arrested in the Australian parliament for attempting to arrest Prime Minister John Howard, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock and Defence Minister Brendan Nelson, accusing the four of war crimes.

This was not McGregor’s first attempt to arrest the Attorney-General.  In a public statement McGregor accused "groups like Amnesty, councils for civil liberties, university law faculties, etc." of hypocrisy for not seeking the prosecution of these men for war crimes.

Mr McGregor issued the following warrant for a citizen’s arrest, before he himself was arrested for ‘unlawful entry on inclosed lands’ [sic]:

Warrant for the Citizen’s Arrest of John Howard, Alexander Downer, Philip Ruddock & Brendan Nelson:

John Howard, Prime Minister; Alexander Downer, Minister for Foreign Affairs; Philip Ruddock, Attorney-General; & Brendan Nelson, Minister for Defence are hereby charged, to be tried by the International Criminal Court, with:

1. Planning, preparing, initiating or waging a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances – VI(i) Nuremberg Principles

2. Participating in a common plan or conspiracy for accomplishment of the above – V(ii) Nuremberg Principles

3. Participating in the use of cluster bombs in contravention of the Australian Mines Convention Act 1998

4. Participating in the use of weapons of mass destruction in breach of the Geneva Conventions, including Fuel Air Explosives which cause death by asphyxiation

5. Conspiring to pervert the course of justice by:

(i) abandoning habeas corpus both in the domestic ‘anti-terror’ laws and in international policy; and

(ii) covering up or defending the use of torture and over breaches of the Geneva Conventions, the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights, & the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, against Australian – and other – citizens, at Guantánamo Bay

6. Failing in its duty to protect Australian citizens overseas, and conspiring to continue the illegal detention of Australian citizens without trial or charge for over 5 years

7. Demonising and incarcerating asylum seekers under the policies of mandatory detention and fortress Australia.  Such policies contravene the legal principle of habeas corpus and have induced undue suffering and mental illness for detainees.

Dated this Wednesday 19th September 2007.

Signature(s): Peter McGregor (mcgregorpeter [at] yahoo.com.au)

Issued & authorized by Citizens against War Crimes.


  1. 12 January 2008 | 10:59 pm

    […] An academic by trade, McGregor was also a convener of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in Australia along with Meredith Burgmann.  Last year he attempted to arrest senior members of the Australian government on suspicion of war crimes. […]

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