Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘universal jurisdiction’

Immunity and impunity: Britain protects Tzipi Livni once again

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

Waiting on ICC, Israeli war crimes suspects already fear arrest abroad

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

Britain re-writes diplomatic protocol to protect Israeli officials

In recent weeks the UK government has once again shown itself to be entirely unwilling to hold Israeli war crimes suspects to account, to the extent that the Foreign Office is leaving its procedures open to ridicule.

At the end of last month, IDF Major General (res.) Doron Almog was scheduled to visit Britain in order to meet with the UK Task Force, an organisation that coordinates engagement by Jewish groups on issues relating to Palestinian citizens of Israel. Almog was presumably invited in his capacity as “chief of staff” for implementing a pending Israeli government plan to forcibly displace tens of thousands of Bedouin citizens in the Negev. But the military man is perhaps better known for narrowly escaping arrest in 2005 at Heathrow airport, after a warrant was issued based on allegations of war crimes committed in the Gaza Strip. Read more

A very special mission

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