British government ‘urgently’ looking at changing the law

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UPDATE – from Islington Friends of Yibna via Lambeth & Wandsworth PSC

UK government may act during Christmas

“At today’s PMQ the Conservatives made a shocking demand. William Hague MP [standing in for Conservative leader Cameron], suggested possible pressure on the judiciary and whatever it takes to ensure Israeli politicians would not be subjected to an arrest warrant for their responsibilities for war crimes. Harman MP [standing in for Gordon Brown] fully and shamelessly endorsed his demand.”

Clip of the Hague–Harman exchange followed by a question from Bob Marshall-Andrews about The Geneva Conventions Act:

Following arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni, British government ‘urgently’ looking at changing the law

Please act now! Contact your MP!

Following the news that Tzipi Livni, who served as Foreign Minister in the Israeli government that planned and executed Israel’s brutal bombing and massacre in Gaza, faced arrest if she entered Britain, tell the government there must be no impunity for Israeli war criminals. Please act URGENTLY – if possible email your MP today, and come to the vigil on 27 December to show the government that we will not let them forget Gaza.

Ask your MP to do the following:

1. Sign Early Day Motion 502 tabled by Jeremy Corbyn MP

Defending the right to bring war criminals to justice:
http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=40074&SESSION=903

2. Urgently contact the Foreign Office raising the following points:

  • The government has a duty under the Fourth Geneva Convention to ‘seek out and prosecute’ alleged war criminals. Under the Geneva Conventions Act 1957, the UK has universal jurisdiction to arrest and try suspected perpetrators of “grave breaches” of the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949 (IVGC). War criminals should be pursued – Britain must not become a ‘safe haven’.
  • The judicial system is meant to be independent and the government’s role is not to intervene. If a judge believes there is sufficient evidence for an arrest warrant to be granted, it is irrelevant whether this embarrasses or causes problems for the British government.
  • The Goldstone Report detailed war crimes and potential crimes against humanity committed by Israel in Gaza. It was shameful that the government abstained on the vote for the Report at the UN Human Rights Council and General Assembly.
  • Instead of responding to pressure from the Israeli government to end the right to charge and prosecute war criminals, the government should immediately change its position – it should support international law and justice, and act itself to uphold the Fourth Geneva Convention.
  • Britain cannot be a true and independent ‘partner’ for peace if its policies are one-sided, and it allows those responsible for war crimes against Palestinians to avoid justice.
  • Tzipi Livni is just the latest in a list of Israelis who have come under scrutiny over allegations of war crimes. Our government should reflect on this, and change its foreign policy, including ending its arms trade with Israel.

Betty Hunter, PSC General Secretary, letter in the Guardian today

‘Tzipi Livni’s refusal to enter Britain because she fears arrest on war crimes charges increases the number of Israeli ministers and ex-ministers who fear legal action, and is to be welcomed (British court issued Gaza arrest warrant, 15 December). Richard Goldstone’s report for the UN detailed serious war crimes and potential crimes against humanity carried out by the Israeli government in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009. It urged international governments to take action to bring those responsible to justice. It is now almost a year since the Israeli government started its brutal and bloody Operation Cast Lead, killing over 1,400 Palestinians in Gaza. The British government has already acted shamefully by not voting for the Goldstone report at the UN.

We are shocked at reports that the Foreign Office is seeking to avoid its responsibility to uphold international law and bring war criminals to justice. The statement that Israeli leaders must be able to come to Britain and that the Foreign Office is “looking urgently at the implications of this case” implies meddling with due judicial process. The government should rectify this immediately, reaffirm the principles of international law and justice, and take action itself to ensure those responsible for war crimes are brought to justice. And if the government does not act, we are ready and willing to take action. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/16/gaza-israel-livni-legal-action

Geoffrey Bindman: Livni has no immunity

It is not at all surprising that the Israeli government is outraged at the attempt – initially successful – to obtain an arrest warrant in Britain against their former foreign minister Tzipi Livni. But their characterisation of it as a “diplomatic offence” is wide of the mark. Those who come to Britain are subject to its laws. – Read more…

Livni defends Israel’s war on Gaza

… saying she “would make the same decisions all over again”.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/12/2009121591430318635.html

Foreign Secretary David Miliband says Israel is a “close friend

Wanted to “avoid this sort of situation arising again”,  and Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis MP said: ‘This can never happen again’: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8415161.stm

JPost: Most ministers would face arrest in UK’

AND KEEP THE PRESSURE ON!

We need to tell the government we haven’t forgotten Israel’s crimes in Gaza and it must lift the siege now!!

Sunday 27 December 3-5pm outside the Israeli Embassy in London

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) aims to raise public awareness about the occupation of Palestine and the struggle of the Palestinian people. PSC seek to bring pressure on both the British and Israeli government to bring their policies in line with international law. PSC is an independent, non-governmental and non-party political organisation with members from communities across the UK. Join PSC today!

Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Box BM PSA, London, WC1N 3XX
Tel:   020 7700 6192 – Fax:  020 7609 7779
Email: info@palestinecampaign.org
Web: www.palestinecampaign.org



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