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UK grants Israel’s Livni diplomatic immunity ahead of diplomatic visit

Al-Akhbar | May 14, 2014

Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has been granted temporary diplomatic immunity for an upcoming visit to the United Kingdom, in order to protect her against arrest for her alleged war crimes, British media reported on Tuesday.

The British Foreign Office confirmed it had granted “special mission” status to Livni, The Guardian wrote, ahead of a planned meeting between the Israeli politician and Foreign Office ministers in London.

Livni’s office confirmed the news, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

The Gaza-based NGO Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) and London law firm Hickman & Rose have been leading efforts to prosecute Israeli officials accused of breaching international law.

Livni had a key role in the 2008-2009 Israeli attack on Gaza, also known as Operation Cast Lead, in which more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed.

Raji Sourani, PCHR director, told The Guardian that he was very disappointed at the British government’s decision to grant immunity to Livni.

“The [British government's] stated policy of ‘ending impunity for international crimes’ can only be properly pursued if the rule of law and due process is allowed to prevail, rather than Britain giving a safe haven to suspected war criminals, even for a few hours,” Sourani said.

He noted that a British judge had ruled in December 2009 that there was sufficient evidence to justify Livni’s arrest over her role in Operation Cast Lead.

The UK’s law on universal jurisdiction – which allows for foreign leaders to be arrested on British soil for breaches of international law – was changed in recent years to make approval from the Director of Public Prosecutions mandatory before an arrest warrant can be issued.

The change in legislation took place shortly after Livni canceled a visit in 2009 over fears of arrest. She has since been granted diplomatic immunity for an October 2011 visit to the UK.

In July 2013, Israel’s army chief, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz was also granted judicial immunity during a visit to the European country in order to discuss military cooperation. Gantz has been accused of involvement in the commission of war crimes, particularly in the November 2012 assault on the Gaza Strip, codenamed Operation Pillar of Defense.

May 14, 2014 - Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Reblogged this on oogenhand.

    Comment by oogenhand | May 14, 2014 | Reply

  2. This so-called temporary diplomatic immunity will not fall good with the investigator of the ICJ, I assure you!
    There are investigations going on at the office of the investigator of the ICJ into accusations of and by officials of the state of Israel, and Livni is one of the subjects of such an investigation, and with the UK now providing immunity (the question is if that immunity is legal under UK-laws!) the ICJ is obstructed in its work and functioning.

    The UK is legally obliged to cooperate with the ICJ, not only because it is signatory party of the treaty that established the ICJ, but also under the treaty that is between the European Union and the UN (ICJ), and the latter treaty forces the member states to cooperate with investigations of the ICJ, even those that are not signatory party btw!

    I wonder what the reactions will be……….

    Comment by masteradrian | May 14, 2014 | Reply


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