FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Following the issue of an arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni, Israel’s former foreign minister, Sarah McSherry, partner at Christian Khan solicitors and executive committee member of Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights, speaks out about David Miliband’s proposal to change the law in the UK to ensure that no such arrest warrant can be obtained in future. She says:
“If Mr Miliband succeeds in his aim to change the legal system, the UK will be in breach of its obligation under Article 146 of the Fourth Geneva Convention to search for and bring before the Courts anyone, regardless of their nationality, alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, grave breaches of the Convention. Moreover, victims of crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes across the world will be denied redress in the UK which will become a haven for war criminals. If Israel is confident that war crimes were not committed during the attack on Gaza, it should allow a prosecution against Ms Livni to proceed in the UK”.
This was in response David Miliband’s proposal to change the law which led to the issue of a warrant by Westminster Magistrates’ Court for the arrest of Tzipi Livni, an Israeli politician, on suspicion of war crimes. The warrant was issued following the presentation of evidence that Ms Livni, who was foreign minister at the time, was involved in war crimes committed during Israel’s attack on Gaza last year but withdrawn because she was not, as was thought, in the UK.
Despite the findings of a number of eminent, international bodies and individuals that it appears to have committed war crimes during its attack on Gaza last year, Israel has failed to hold an independent and effective judicial investigation into the events and there have been no criminal prosecutions. In such circumstances, the exercise of Universal Jurisdiction in countries such as the UK is one of the only tools that the victims of those alleged war crimes can utilise to obtain accountability. It is the responsibility of the international community, including the UK, to ensure that no country acts with impunity.
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