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Thursday, October 6, 2011

British prosecutor blocks arrest warrant for Livni on U.K. visit

  • Published 17:44 06.10.11
  • Latest update 17:44 06.10.11

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni was invited to the U.K. following an amendment to British law that prevents private citizens from seeking arrest warrants against Israeli officials in Great Britain.

By Barak Ravid and The Associated Press
Britain's chief prosecutor says he blocked an attempt to serve visiting Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni with an arrest warrant.
Prosecutor Keir Starmer's decision Thursday comes weeks after Britain tightened its law on universal jurisdiction, a principle that allows British courts to prosecute foreigners accused of crimes against humanity, wherever they were committed. Starmer did not say who sought the warrant for Livni.
Tzipi Livni (Emil Salman)
Tzipi Livni
Photo by: Emil Salman

However, pro-Palestinian activists have previously sought the arrest of Israelis using the law. The law strained U.K.-Israeli relations, as Israeli officials cancelled trips rather than face arrest.
In 2009, pro-Palestinian activist groups sought an arrest warrant against Livni over her role in Operation Cast Lead at the time that she was serving as Foreign Minister. The court that issued the arrest warrant for Livni annulled it upon discovering she was not in Britain at the time. Livni had in fact canceled a planned visit to the U.K. upon learning she could be arrested.
Livni told British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Thursday that she believed Britain has done the right thing, morally and legally, in amending the law.
“This is not a personal issue, but something which has darkened relations between the two countries for years, and Britain has done a good thing by putting an end to the matter,” Livni said.

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