CODEPINK is modeling citizen justice (with a splash of pink) by holding the former Bush administration, Obama administration and others accountable for leading us into unjust and illegal military interventions. We know that change will not occur unless citizens stand up for their rights under the law.
Stage a Citizens Arrest
Pick a war criminal:
- Educate yourself on who’s who in the war criminal community. Check out our Most Wanted War Criminals List, 50 Top U.S. War Criminals, WarCriminalWatch or view Slate's Interactive Guide.
Pick an event:
- Check out our War Criminal Event Calendar below or look for appearances by any war criminals in your area.
- Plan your strategy. Will you be attending the event inside or staying outside with banners and signs? Will you be doing a symbolic citizen's arrest? Depending on the circumstances, purchase or reserve a ticket, buy a book, stand in line or otherwise peacefully enter the proceedings. Discern whether your bag will be searched by security at the event. If so, handily slip your handcuffs and other arrest materials into your sleeves, your pockets, your pants or any other inconspicuous areas. Choose your seat carefully and observe the general "feel" of the crowd.
- You may feel nervous and doubt your ability to pull this off. Instead of dwelling on your fear, think of the millions of Iraqis who've been cast from their homes by the war Bush brought to their country. Think of the thousands of American who've given their lives to this fruitless enterprise. Think of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who've been killed, maimed, raped and plunged into destitution. Think of the inhuman, incalculable tragedy that this war has brought to everyone it's touched. Then remember that this is your job and your right as a citizen, look into the eyes of the war criminal, keep your cool, and non-violently attempt a citizen's arrest.
- Rise from your seat and say loudly “(e.g. DICK CHENEY) You are under arrest for war crimes!” Be prepared with a short line to say over and over. Unfurl a banner if you have one. Hold up your handcuffs and your citizen’s arrest complaint. Note: Do NOT actually place the handcuffs on the war criminal’s wrist or touch the criminal. Making physical contact with a war criminal may be construed as assault by the police; handcuffs are only for use as a prop. Only an on-duty police officer has the right to actually cuff the War Criminal in a citizen’s arrest. Your arrest complaint is your power.
- After your action, immediately get the story out by calling reporters, writing a blog, posting your video and/or photos, and emailing us.
- Hand-cuffs (only for use as a prop).
- Banners: Keep the messaging simple. "Arrest (war criminal's name here)" and "War Criminal!"
- Arrest Complaint (to hold as a visual and read to the war criminal present). Examples that you can modify: Rove and Chevron lawyer William Haynes.
- Camera and/or Video Camera + someone on your team in charge of documenting the action.
Move Erik Prince’s Book “Civilian Warrior” to the Crime Section in bookstores!
Just download a bookmark, print, cut and go!
- Move Cheney's Book "In My Time" to the New Crime Section in bookstores! Just download, a color bookmark or a black/white bookmark, print, cut and go! Read: Ten Reasons to Move Cheney's Book to the Crime Section, By Medea Benjamin, Common Dreams
- Host a War Criminals Card Party!
- Purchase War Criminal Playing Cards now available for sale
- Pass an ordinance in your community to promote executive accountability for human rights abuses, such as torture
- Roving War Criminal: A Timeline of Actions Against Karl Rove
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