Israel’s ex-minister for military affairs not detained in London

Israeli former minister for military affairs, Shaul Mofaz (C)

Israeli former minister for military affairs, Shaul Mofaz

Israeli former minister for military affairs, Shaul Mofaz, has arrived in London and gone to his hotel despite earlier speculations about his arrest over war crimes.

Mofaz, scheduled to attend a conference in London, landed in the British capital late on Saturday on a flight from Tel Aviv, and went through customs and border control without being arrested.

Earlier, there were speculations that he might have been arrested upon his arrival over war crimes he committed against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank during his 2002–2006 tenure.

Israel’s ministry of foreign affairs and the Israeli embassy in London had struggled frantically ahead of Mofaz’s trip to prevent his potential arrest, which could be considered an embarrassment for the Israeli regime.

However, British ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould had notified Mofaz and the Israeli embassy in London that they could not secure diplomatic immunity for the former minister.

Under UK’s Universal Jurisdiction law, British citizens can press war crime charges against foreigners, who could be arrested upon entry into Britain once an indictment has been issued.

In 2011, the British government changed the law to make it more difficult to obtain arrest warrants against Israeli figures by requiring the consent ofthe Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). However, the law only applies to officials visiting the UK in an official capacity, and those making personal trips can be arrested.

A number of Israeli officials, including former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, have been targeted by the law.

In 2009, ahead of Livni’s visit to London, a court in the UK issued an arrest warrant for her over crimes committed by the Israeli army during the 2008-2009 war in Gaza. Livni, the Israeli foreign minister at the time, did not go through with the trip.

In 2005, Major General Doron Almog, a senior Israeli military official, flew to London but decided not to leave the plane when he was informed that the British police were waiting to arrest him.

An arrest warrant had been issued against him for his role in the controversial demolition of Palestinian homes in the town of Rafah in Gaza.

(Source / 20.06.2015)

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