Once again, Israeli opposition politician and war crimes suspect Tzipi Livni has been granted diplomatic immunity by the British government for a private visit to London.
Last week, Scotland Yard’s War Crimes Unit invited Tzipi Livni to a police interview under caution, in relation to her role in Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip in December 2008 (Operation Cast Lead). At the time, Livni was foreign minister, vice prime minister, and a member of the security cabinet.
The summons, described in Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz as “unprecedented”, was only “cancelled after diplomatic contacts between Israel and Britain, at the end of which Livni received immunity.” Read more
Over the last two weeks, two Israeli war crimes suspects entered the UK. One, former Israeli minister Tzipi Livni, received diplomatic immunityin dubious circumstances. A second, former Israeli army chief of staff Shaul Mofaz, visited for just 48 hours and left before the authorities acted. These visits have prompted three questions.
The first question is for the FCO. Livni, an opposition MK, came to London to speak at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International Summit. Since this would have constituted a personal visit, rather than an official one, Livni arranged a meeting with Foreign Office (FCO) minister Tobias Ellwood. The FCO then duly granted the visit ‘special mission’ status, and thus gave Livni immunity from prosecution. Read more
Last month, on the day that changes in universal jurisdiction law went into effect, Israel’s former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said she “received a phone call” from UK Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould telling her “there is no longer a warrant for my arrest”.
Yet when Livni arrived in Britain on Thursday, something went wrong. In what was billed as a “test case” for a law designed to remove the threat of arrest for visiting Israeli officials, Livni only avoided a warrant due to a legal assessment by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) that she was on a “Special Mission”. Read more