Security guards blocked the path of columnist and activist George Monbiot, who tried to make the arrest as Mr Bolton left the stage.
The former ambassador - a key advisor to President George W Bush who argued strongly in favour of invading Iraq - had been giving a talk on international relations to more than 600 people at the literary festival.
Mr Monbiot was blocked by two heavily-built security guards at the end of the one-and-a-half hour appearance, before he could serve a "charge sheet" on him.
Mr Monbiot said moments later he was "disappointed" that he had been blocked from making the citizen's arrest.
"This was a serious attempt to bring one of the perpetrators of the Iraq war to justice, for what is described under the Nuremberg Principles as an international crime," he said.
A citizen's arrest can be carried out under certain circumstances by a member of the public, if they believe a person had carried out a crime, under the Serious and Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Guardian Columnist Unsuccessfully Attempts Citizen's Arrest of John Bolton
Guardian columnist George Monbiot unsuccessfully tried arresting John Bolton at a literary festival in England: