By Jonathan Hoffman
December 24, 2009
The Muslim Council of Britain has written to Foreign Secretary David Miliband to protest at his seeming willingness to change the Universal Jurisdiction legislation to prevent individuals being able to achieve arrest warrants - as happened just over a week ago in the Tsipi Livni case.
The MCB's letter is full of inconsistencies and non-sequiturs. For example they argue that the change would "treat political friends differently and indeed more favourably than those who may face same allegations but for whom a different process will apply." What on earth do they mean - Universal Jurisdiction can be used on anyone from any country if they are suspected of certain crimes. It has nothing to do with "political friends".
It gets worse. Look what they say about Lord David Pannick QC:
We note that in your commitment to review and revise the process for issue of warrants by courts you have taken account of and been persuaded by the legal opinion of David Pannick QC. ..... The matter is inherently very sensitive and it is contaminated by a perception of bias in choosing to rely solely on him.
This is not just wrong, it is outrageously wrong - and offensive.
One, the MCB's argument does not even need the snipe at Lord Pannick. It is completely gratuitous.
Two, Pannick's opinion was sought by the Jewish Leadership Council. The MCB has no idea how influential it was on Miliband. Anyway he has wanted to change the law for five years but doubted he could get a Parliamentary majority for it (why not - has he not heard of the Whip?). The FCO has plenty of its own lawyers and I have no doubt that they came up a long time ago with precisely the same recommendation as Lord Pannick - that is, to require the Attorney General to approve all requests for arrest warrants under Universal Jurisdiction.
The only 'perception of bias' is that of the MCB. And look how they frame their obnoxious argument: "Of course we don't think that he might favour Israel, but other people might think that"
It's the same mendacious dissimulation as we had from the FCO's Camel Corps.
And it reeks.