British activists fail in Livni arrest attempt

Opposition leader calls it a "cynical exploitation" of UK legal system, meets with Hague in first UK visit since repeal of war crimes law.

By JONNY PAUL IN LONDON
October 6, 2011 16:09
1 minute read.
Livni and Hague

Livni and Hague 311. (photo credit: Bicom)

 
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LONDON – It has emerged that an application to have opposition leader Tzipi Livni arrested during her visit to the UK was submitted on Tuesday, but failed following the intervention of the foreign office.

The application was made by pro- Palestinian activists who submitted the request to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), a non-ministerial government department responsible for public prosecutions in England and Wales, to arrest Livni for alleged breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

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“During the afternoon of 4 October 2011, an application was made to the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, to exercise his consent pursuant to section 153 of the Police and Social Responsibility Act 2011, for a private prosecutor to apply for a warrant to arrest Ms. Tzipi Livni, the former foreign secretary in Israel for alleged offences relating to grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in relation to military action in Gaza in December 2008. The application was supported by a body of information, which has been supplemented by the applicant on our request in the intervening period,” a CPS spokesman said on Thursday.

CPS said its Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division looked carefully at all information, but could not reach the view that there was sufficient evidence to support a realistic prospect of a conviction against Livni.

On Thursday morning a certificate was served by the foreign office, which said it had consented to Livni’s visit to the UK, deeming it a “special mission.”

“The director of public prosecutions has concluded that a magistrate’s court would be bound to refuse any application for the arrest of Ms. Livni for the duration of this visit,” a CPS spokesman said. “In those circumstances, he has refused to give his consent to the private prosecutor to make an application to the court for an arrest warrant. In considering this application, the director of public prosecutions has consulted the attorneygeneral, but the decision is his.”

The attempt to issue a new arrest warrant for opposition leader Tzipi Livni was a “cynical exploitation of the British legal system,” the MK said via Twitter. “Good was done by Britain, which prevented” that warrant from being issued, she added.

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