By Andrew Sanger
February 4, 2010
It is really excellent news that Tzipi Livni plans to visit Britain soon regardless of whether the UK's law of universal jurisdiction has been changed. If she is arrested it will highlight the stupidity and arrogance of this legislation and embarrass the government which brought it in.
Three weeks ago The Jewish Chronicle assured us in a confident front page story that the law of universal jurisdiction (‘war crimes’ law) was about to be changed (War crimes arrest law will change next week, 14 Jan). Two weeks ago, the paper stated with rather less fanfare that there had been a delay. Last week, it asked whether the law would ever be changed.
In the meantime, the UK’s powerful pro-Palestinian lobby – which has such a grip on the BBC, British universities and several UK newspapers and trade unions – has been ratcheting up a powerful campaign to prevent any change to this law.
At present, universal jurisdiction permits any UK magistrate to issue, on request by anyone who can show prima facie cause, a warrant to arrest anyone in the world for “war crimes” should they step foot on UK soil. The proposed change would require only that the Attorney-General would have to approve the issuing of such a warrant.
Without doubt this sweeping law stemmed originally from the best of intentions. Insofar as there can be any agreement about what constitutes a war crime, the principle behind universal jurisdiction is that there should be no place to hide for those responsible for acts of barbarism against civilian populations.
Using this law, an Afghani militia leader was prosecuted in the UK. In other European states, universal jurisdiction has been used against leaders of the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and against Chile’s General Pinochet (when Spain requested his extradition to face trial there).
However, the problem with universal jurisdiction has become all too apparent in the UK, where anti-Israel obsessives have hijacked it and reduced it to utter disrepute. Since 2004, all four warrants issued in the UK have been for the arrest of Israeli citizens. All were issued at the request of lawyers from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.
Indeed, in the UK, universal jurisdiction has hardly been used at all except as a weapon against the Jewish homeland. No warrants have been issued against Kim Jong-Ill, for example, or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Bashar al-Assad or – more to the point – any of the Palestinian leaders responsible for random bomb attacks on Israeli civilians.
Universal jurisdiction has become so highly politicised that it now an essential part of the global jihad. Who is campaigning to keep this law, and why? A group of British lawyers and politicians wrote to The Guardian last month setting out the argument in its favour. On the face of it, they appear to be concerned only with justice, and injustice.
However, the signatories of the letter comprise the familiar roll-call of those we have come to think of as dyed-in-the-wool Israel-haters. They range from pro-Palestinian lawyers and madcap Labour MPs to the Muslim Council of Britain and the barmy army of self-blaming Jews, along with the sprinkling of out-and-out frothing antisemites. They include such tainted luminaries as Baroness Jenny Tonge, Clare Short, Daniel Machover and Steven Rose.
Their letter has now spent three weeks circulating the countless Islamist and jihadist blogs and websites all around the globe. It is being used everywhere to incite violent hatred against Britain as well as against Israel. It has taken its place among the scriptures of the Islamist, anti-Jewish and anti-Western movements.
Tzipi's visit will probably at last persuade Britain to change its flawed law of universal jurisdiction. Of course, we can then expect an avalanche of assertions by the same anti-Israel obsessives that Jews (alias Zionists) used their secret influence to force the UK government to do their bidding.