South African group reportedly seeking Livni’s arrest

Ahead of planned trip to country, Media Review Network attempting to secure arrest warrant against opposition leader for her role in Cast Lead.

311_Livni at IDC (photo credit: Channel 10 News)
311_Livni at IDC
(photo credit: Channel 10 News)
The Media Review Network, a South African media group, has been attempting to secure an arrest warrant against Opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima) for her role in Operation Cast Lead, a local news website reported.
News24 quoted MRN chairperson Iqbal Jassat as saying that Livni, who served as foreign minister during the operation in Gaza, is due in South Africa at the invitation of the Jewish Board of Deputies.
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She is scheduled to leave for South Africa next week.
“We have now been informed that she has been invited to this country and have therefore instructed our legal team to take all necessary measures to secure an arrest warrant and to pave the way for her prosecution,” Jassat said.
“Our decision is based on the fact that SA is a signatory to the Rome statutes, which obligates all member states to honor their responsibility in the prosecution of war criminals.
“We believe that her visit to this country would be an act of provocation and are therefore deeply disappointed that her hosts – the Jewish Board of Deputies – displayed such intolerance and callousness by having a known murderer who is a wanted criminal in many parts of the world, visit SA,” Jassat said.
Livni’s associates said she would not decide whether to go to South Africa based on the threats of one group or another, and noted that she did go to England even after an arrest warrant for her was issued. They said the only thing that can prevent her from going is the Foreign Ministry strike, which has put the trip in jeopardy.
“I stand by everything I do and say,” Livni said.
In response to the attempt to secure an arrest warrant, the Jewish Board of Deputies accused the MRN of playing “petty politics,” according to the report.
“Livni has become one of Israel’s leading voices for negotiations with the Palestinians with the aim of achieving peaceful co-existence between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors,” the board said in a statement, as cited by News 24.
Board chairman Zev Krengel said the board saw no reason why the MRN’s actions should thwart or hamper Livni’s visit and confirmed that it would go ahead.
“It’s pure intimidation tactics by people who do not want to see a solution to the situation in the Middle East,” he added.
“[Livni] has consistently been supportive of a viable Palestinian state, and this has won the respect of the international diplomatic community for her commitment to making peace.