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Britain Rejects War Crimes Warrant for Israeli Politician


Israel's opposition leader and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni speaks at the annual Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, December 2009. (file photo)

Israel's opposition leader and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni speaks at the annual Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, December 2009. (file photo)

Britain's chief prosecutor has blocked an attempt to serve visiting Israeli politician Tzipi Livni with an arrest warrant for war crimes, stemming from her time as Israel's foreign minister.

The decision Thursday by Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer comes weeks after Britain revised its law on universal jurisdiction.

The revised law allows British courts to prosecute foreigners accused of crimes against humanity, wherever they were committed. But such prosecutions require the consent of the director of public prosecutions.

Before the law was revised, private individuals could start criminal prosecutions in such cases by applying to a magistrate.

Starmer would not identify who requested Livni's arrest. The matter, though, reportedly involves Israel's 2008 offensive in Gaza. Livni was foreign minister at the time.

Before it was revised, the law strained British-Israeli relations, as some Israeli officials canceled trips rather than face arrest.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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