Britain amends universal jurisdiction law

Tzippi Livni

Head of Kadima and former FM Tzippi Livni

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.

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6 Responses to Britain amends universal jurisdiction law

  1. Brian Goldfarb says:

    “sort of. Livni is a most irritating politician”

    Now, now, Anne, they’re all irritating, even the ones we support, unless they’re personal friends, because mouthing cliches is their job.

    “I would have preferred the wording to make it clear that Israeli politicians are not considered war criminals at all”.

    I have to say that until this issue came up, I’d never heard of any politicians from any genuinely democratic country ever having been considered war criminals at all. At least, not by fellow genuine democracies. We’re back to the “Jewish” thing, aren’t we, and we shouldn’t pretend it’s Israelis, really.

    Let the PSC types do the pretending. Make believe is their game, after all.

    • anneinpt says:

      Livni is particularly irritating because she’s an opportunist. I know that’s part of a politician’s job description, but she’s changed her principals so radically that it’s unusual even for a politician. She was a hardline Likud member, then she tagged onto Ariel Sharon’s coat-tails and joined Kadima, probably thinking she’d get further with him than with Bibi in Likud. She was wrong at first, but then Sharon (also an opportunist for leaving Likud and creating Kadima when things didn’t go his way) had a stroke, and at a stroke (sorry…) Livni became Foreign Minister. She was one of the worst ones we had, especially during a war, and she is still proud of the terrible UN Res. 1701 which formulated the ceasefire with Hezbollah. All she wanted was to be loved by the world, rather than fight for her country and get the best deal possible.

      What really irks me is that she is automatically against almost everything that the Likud is for. During the recent social protests, she automatically sided with the protestors even though her own boss Ehud Olmert was one of the most financially corrupt pols we’ve ever had, and it was as much under his watch that prices have spiralled out of control. She seems to have no political platform except for being anti-Bibi. Even a politician needs more than that.

      As for the rest of your comment – agreed 100%.

      • Brian Goldfarb says:

        “even though her own boss Ehud Olmert was one of the most financially corrupt pols we’ve ever had…” Umm, Moshe Dayan (archaeological artefacts, I’ve heard); Omri Sharon, to name but two. And Barak has jumped ship, as well, or maybe he did that before being pushed…

        You know, Winston Churchill was just as much a harlot as far as party loyalty was concerned: in response to someone reminding him that he changed party’s (“ratted”), his only response was “re-ratted!”

        • anneinpt says:

          OK, you have a point that other pols were also corrupt. But Livni keeps touting her own credentials, thinking we have a very short memory of to whom she showed her loyalty and whom she associated with.

  2. Mar says:

    It’s been a very long pregnancy but, as the English say, better late than never.

    • anneinpt says:

      LOL! That’s well-put. Not only a long pregnancy but almost a miscarriage at some points. It was a ridiculous situation in the first place. I didn’t realise that the law was about to be amended at all. The last I heard (or was aware of) the British were still taking it all under consideration. I thought it would be bumped down to committee and sit there for decades. So well done to all concerned.

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