UK court issues warrant for Israel's Livni over Gaza war crimes
A British court issued an arrest warrant for former Israeli FM Livni on Gaza war crimes charges.
A British court issued an arrest warrant for former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni on Gaza war crimes charges but she cancelled a planned trip fearing being arrested on arrival, British and Israeli media reported.
Westminster magistrates court issued the warrant at the request of lawyers acting for Palestinian victims in Gaza earlier this year, the paper said in an article published online on Monday.
The warrant marks the first time an Israeli minister or former minister has faced arrest in the UK and is evidence of a growing effort to pursue war crimes allegations under universal jurisidiction.
Livni, head of the opposition Kadima party, played a key role in decisions made before and during the three-week offensive.
Israel killed nearly 1500 Palestinians in Gaza offensive and destroyed homes, hospitals, schools, mosques in the besieged land.
The judge issued the warrant on Sunday, however, the court had to drop the warrant later after Livni's cancellation.
Livni cannot enjoy any immunity as she is an ex-minister. Ehud Olmert, the former prime minister, is in the same position.
Israeli sources told British paper Guardian, ministers who wish to visit the UK in a personal capacity have begun asking the Israeli embassy in London to arrange meetings with British officials to escape any arrest warrant.
Livni had been scheduled to speak at a Jewish National Fund conference.
The Foreign Office told Reuters news agency, it was "looking urgently at the implications of this case."
In September the court was asked to issue one for the arrest of Ehud Barak, Israel's defence minister, under the 1988 Criminal Justice Act, which gives courts in England and Wales universal jurisdiction in war crimes cases.
Barak, who was attending a meeting at the Labour party conference in Brighton, escaped arrest after the Foreign Office told the court that he was a serving minister who would be meeting his British counterparts. The court ruled he enjoyed immunity under the State Immunity Act 1978.
In 2005, a retired Israeli general, Doron Almog, avoided arrest in Britain by returning to Israel without leaving the plane that had landed him in London after he learned an arrest warrant had been issued against him.
Israel now faces UN war crimes report that particularly details Israel's alleged war crimes during the Gaza offensive.
The report, which was compiled by a panel led by Richard Goldstone, a South African judge, had already been endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council, which sponsored the fact-finding commission.
Israeli forces deliberately attacked civilians, failed to take precautions to minimize loss of civilian life and cited strong evidence Israeli forces committed "grave breaches" of the Geneva Convention, the 575-page report noted.
The firing of white phosphorous shells and the use of high explosive artillery shells were listed as "violations of humanitarian law."
Israel has rejected a cooperation with the Goldstone team or had not allowed it onto its territory. Last Mod: 15 Aralık 2009, 11:57
i find it absurd that these people that have commited war crimes are the same people who try and find nazi soldiers and get them arrested for war crimes that were commited years ago . but when they commit a crime of war its not acrime its self defence . i think if they come 2 uk they should be arrested. but who u kiding thats not gonna happen