Israeli general to test universal jurisdiction reform

By Jennifer Lipman, October 4, 2011
Doron Almog

Doron Almog

The Israeli army general whose planned visit to Britain five years ago sparked a campaign to change the law on universal jurisdiction is finally to complete his aborted journey.

In 2005 former General Doron Almog was unable to leave a plane at Heathrow because pro-Palestinian campaigners had applied for a warrant for alleged war crimes and he would have faced arrest if he had stepped on to UK soil.

Gen Almog, regarded as a hero in Israel for his bravery during the raid on Entebbe, had been due to speak at an event in aid of Aleh, a charity working with children with severe physical and cognitive disabilities. Gen Almog's severely disabled son, in whose memory the charity is named, died in 2007.

His case was the first but not the last, with other high-profile Israelis unable to visit Britain because of concerted efforts by anti-Israel activists using the law on universal jurisdiction. Among them were Opposition leader Tzipi Livni, Defence Minister Ehud Barak and Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz.

Last month the reform of the law finally received Royal Assent, meaning that activists now have to seek the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions for such warrants.

Gen Almog is now set to visit Britain early next year. He said he was awaiting the trip with "tremendous anticipation".

During his visit he will address another Aleh event. Gail Seal, a trustee of Aleh UK, said she was delighted he would at last be able to attend. "It will certainly be an event that is not to be missed," she said.

Last updated: 12:54pm, October 4 2011