With perfect timing, the same day that it is revealed that Raed Salah is suing Britain for damages for wrongful arrest, the UK amended its law of universal jurisdiction, thereby allowing Israeli politicians to travel freely without thread of arrest by British individuals.
The United Kingdom on Thursday approved an amendment to the universal jurisdiction law, which had allowed private individuals to obtain an arrest warrant for alleged “war crimes” aimed at Israeli dignitaries who visit the UK.
In a telephone call to opposition leader Tzipi Livni, UK Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould stated that the Queen of England had signed the measure into law.
Gould said in a press release: “The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act, which has now received Royal Assent, includes an important amendment to ensure that the UK’s justice system can no longer be abused for political reasons. The change will ensure that people cannot be detained when there is no realistic chance of prosecution, while ensuring that we continue to honor our international obligations.”
He continued: “The UK remains committed to ensuring that those guilty of war crimes are brought to justice. This amendment requires the Director of Public Prosecutions to consent to the issuing of an arrest warrant for crimes of universal jurisdiction and will put an end to requests for warrants where there is no realistic chance of prosecution.”
The law had allowed a warrant to be issued in December 2009 for the arrest of former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, who had been scheduled to visit to address a Jewish group. Several other senior Israeli officials were threatened with warrants on war crimes charges under the law in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead.
So can we put Tzippi Livni on a plane to the UK already? Let the British have the “pleasure” of her company for a change.
OK, the above was written in jest (sort of. Livni is a most irritating politician). This is very good news, although I would have preferred the wording to make it clear that Israeli politicians are not considered war criminals at all, and not just that they cannot be arrested because there is no serious chance of prosecution.
But I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies. Thank you Your Majesty.