JLC pushes Straw on warrants

By Martin Bright and Anshel Pfeffer, February 11, 2010

The Jewish Leadership Council has written the second letter in as many weeks requesting an urgent meeting with Justice Secretary Jack Straw to discuss the delay in introducing legislation to prevent magistrates from issuing arrest warrants for alleged war criminals.

The JLC first wrote to the Ministry of Justice on January 28 to request urgent talks to discuss why the government had failed to announce the reform.

A new letter, written jointly with the Board of Deputies, was sent on Tuesday, but at the time of going to press, there was no response from Mr Straw.

Community leaders are now facing the real possibility that the change to the legislation — promised by Foreign Secretary David Miliband in December and backed by the Prime Minister — will not happen before the election.

Last year, Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni cancelled a planned trip to London after a warrant was issued for her arrest for alleged war crimes. She now says she is willing to challenge Britain’s response by travelling to the UK in any event.

Some members of the Israeli government have become increasingly nervous about Ms Livni’s plans.

One source said: “We don’t recommend that she visits because a quick fix for a Tzipi Livni visit will not be a long-term solution.”

But a Foreign Ministry spokesman said: “We had no opposition to Livni travelling to London in the first place, and should she choose to go now, that would still be our position.”

Last updated: 4:47pm, February 11 2010