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DPP blocks bid to arrest Tzipi Livni for war crimes

  • @robhastings

An attempt to arrest the Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni for alleged war crimes was blocked by the Director of Public Prosecutions in the first test of a law limiting citizens' rights to seek the arrest of foreign politicians in the UK.

Ms Livni, who was Foreign Minister during Israel's three-week assault on the Gaza Strip in December 2008, is the first senior Israeli figure to visit Britain since the Government changed a war crimes law which had kept her and other Israeli officials away for fear of arrest. She was invited to London by the Foreign Secretary, William Hague.

On Tuesday, an unidentified person applied to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, for permission to seek a court arrest warrant against Ms Livni for alleged war crimes linked to the 2008 Gaza offensive, the Crown Prosecution Service said. But the DPP ruled that she was on a "special mission", which courts have said gives immunity from prosecution, and the application was therefore turned down.