British police summons Livni for questioning over war crimes

British police summons Livni for questioning over war crimes
Senior Israeli official, Tzipi Livni has reportedly been summoned for 'voluntary' questioning by Scotland Yard for her involvement in Israel's 2008 war, Operation Cast Lead.
2 min read
03 July, 2016
Livni was a member of the cabinet during Israel's 2008 deadly war on Gaza [Getty]

Israel's former foreign minister Tzipi Livni was reportedly summoned for questioning by British police last Thursday, ahead of the diplomat's visit to the country.

Livni, who is currently in London attending a conference, received a letter from Scotland Yard two days before her departure from Israel.

She was requested to attend the meeting to discuss her involvement in committing war crimes and violations of the Geneva Convention during her time as the foreign minister and vice prime minister. Livni was also a member of the diplomatic-security cabinet during Israel's 2008 deadly war on Gaza – dubbed Operation Cast Lead.

Though the request was "highly irregular and unprecedented", Haaretz reported the case against Livni is at an "advanced stage" according to an anonymous senior official source.

"After receipt of the letter urgent contacts began between the Israeli Embassy in Britain and the Justice Ministry and Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, in an attempt to find a solution to the issue," it reported.

The request was rejected by the Israeli embassy in London, however British courts have previously issued an arrest warrant for Livni following pressure from activists.

According to Livni's office, Gordon Brown, who was prime minister at the time, sought new legislative changes to ensure that no Israeli official would risk arrest while on British soil.

The Daily Telegraph reported at the time that in response to the arrest the government considered legal reforms to prevent British courts from approving arrest warrants for visiting politicians and military officers accused of war crimes.

Pro-Palestinian activists and organisations have demanded action be taken against senior Israeli officials, with particular focus on Livni, for their involvement in the war.

In August last year, a petition that was launched urging British authorities to arrest Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, garnered over 100,000 signatures.

"Netanyahu is to hold talks in London this September. Under international law he should be arrested for war crimes upon arrival in the UK for the massacre of over 2,000 civilians in 2014," the petition reads.

Under the Geneva Convention Act 1957, judges in the United Kingdom can issue arrest warrants for war crimes suspects without the need to consult public prosecutors.

More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed when Israel launched a lethal war on Gaza in 2008.