U.K. takes steps to end arrest threats to Israeli officials 17Dec09 December 18, 2009
Haaretz -Â 17 December 2009
Britain has begun to make good on Foreign Secretary David Miliband’s pledge to reform the law that enables judges to order the arrest of visiting Israeli politicians and generals, The Guardian reported on Thursday.
The move came after the legal power, universal jurisdiction, was recently used against opposition leader Tzipi Livni; it could, however, be also invoked against other world leaders, such as Barack Obama or Vladimir Putin.
According to The Guardian, Britain’s attorney general will be asked to approve warrants before suspected war criminals can be arrested in future, under a plan being negotiated by the Foreign Office in response to the row over attempts to arrest Livni.
Pro-Palestinian activists sought to have the former foreign minister arrested over her role in alleged war crimes committed during Israel’s winter offensive against Hamas in Gaza.
Discussions have begun in Whitehall on creating “safeguards” in criminal cases against visiting foreign leaders, the British paper reported.
Lawyers involved were quoted as saying they were outraged by the proposed change.
On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called Livni to say he “completely opposed” to the arrest warrant issued against, saying that she was welcome in Britain any time.