Restrictions on Universal Jurisdiction to be announced

The government is planning to reform the law under which warrants have been obtained in London for the arrest of Israelis accused of war crimes abroad. The Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, is expected to announce the reforms in a written parliamentary answer tomorrow, Thursday.

As I explained here in March, the Labour government was “minded” to change the universal jurisdiction law, but not before it was voted out of office.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats agreed some weeks ago that it should not be possible for an arrest warrant to be issued by a magistrate without prior consent. What was not resolved until recently was whether that consent should be obtained from the Attorney General or the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The announcement  should clear the way for Israelis politicians to visit Britain without risking arrest. London had previously been regarded as a convenient place for Israel to hold secret talks with its Arab neighbours.

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