Livni heading to Britain after arrest law change

By Jennifer Lipman, October 3, 2011

Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni is to visit Britain for the first time since she was prevented from doing so by pro-Palestinian activists nearly two years ago.

Ms Livni, the leader of the Kadima Party, has been invited by Foreign Secretary William Hague and is set to arrive on Wednesday.

The visit has been made possible following the long-awaited amendment to the Universal Jurisdiction law.

Under the old terms, activists were able to apply for an arrest warrant for Ms Livni for war crimes due to her involvement with Operation Cast Lead, scuppering her plans to visit Britain in December 2009.

But last month the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act was given Royal Assent and became law. It means that groups will be required to seek the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions for such warrants.

Ms Livni was one of a number of Israeli dignitaries affected by the old law, including Defence Minister Ehud Barak, Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor and Brigadier-General Avi Benayahu, who visited Britain in disguise earlier this year.

Last updated: 5:57pm, October 5 2011