Thursday, December 17, 2009

Outcry over plan to give attorney general veto on war crimes warrants

• Brown 'totally opposed' to attempted arrest of Israeli
• Lawyers reject 'safeguards' for visiting foreign leaders

Afua Hirsch and Ian Black, Wednesday 16 December 2009

(Click on cartoon by Carlos Latuff to enlarge)

"The attorney general will be asked to approve warrants before suspected war criminals can be arrested in future under a plan being negotiated by the Foreign Office in response to the row over attempts to arrest Israel's former foreign minister.

The Guardian has learned that discussions have begun in Whitehall on creating "safeguards" in criminal cases against visiting foreign leaders – not just those from Israel. Lawyers involved said they were outraged by the proposed change.

Gordon Brown today threw his weight behind moves to change the law and telephoned Tzipi Livni, leader of the Israeli opposition, to say he "completely opposed" the warrant issued by a London magistrates court for her arrest for alleged crimes in relation to the war in Gaza. The warrant was withdrawn when it transpired that Livni was not in the UK, but triggered a huge diplomatic spat in which politics clashed head-on with the law......."

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