Barak urged to leave the UK after arrest fears

By Jessica Elgot, September 29, 2009
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Ehud Barak: a court will hear submissions for a warrant for his arrest

Ehud Barak: a court will hear submissions for a warrant for his arrest

Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak has been urged to flee the UK after two Palestinian groups applied for a warrant for his arrest.

Two unnamed groups, which represent a total of 16 people, have sought to obtain an international arrest warrant for alleged war crimes committed by Mr Barak.

Solicitors for one of the groups, Irvine Thanvi Nataz, submitted the request for the warrant to Westminster Magistrates today.

The submission came under the 1988 Criminal Justice Act, alleging that Mr Barak, who was in charge of the offensive in Gaza earlier this year, has committed offences against the 1957 Geneva conventions.

The 1988 act gives British courts universal jurisdiction in war crimes cases.

Israeli legal advisors have apparently recommended that Mr Barak leave the UK and fly to France, but he has chosen to remain to meet British leaders.

Mr Barak is here to meet Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Foreign Secretary David Miliband, at the Labour party conference in Brighton, to discuss the growing nuclear threat from Iran.

Mr Barak and Mr Brown are expected to hold talks today, and Mr Barak will meet Mr Miliband tomorrow.

Mr Barak will also speak to the Labour Friends of Israel at their annual reception, the first senior Israeli minister to speak since the new government was elected in February.

Last updated: 9:57am, March 26 2010