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Israeli politician to visit Britain after arrest law change

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Summary of story from Reuters, October 4, 2011

The leader of the Israeli opposition, Tzipi Livni, is set to visit Britain after a change in British law means that fears that she could be arrested for war crimes have been removed.

She has been invited by the UK’s foreign secretary, William Hague, and may visit this week, although details have yet to be confirmed by the British Foreign Office, or by Livni’s centrist party, Kadima.

She intends to discuss UK-Israeli relations and recent events in the Middle East while she is visiting.

She was Israel’s foreign minister during the three-week offensive Israel launched against the Gaza Strip in 2008. An arrest warrant was issued against her in 2009.

That warrant was made possible by a UK law which had permitted private individuals to start criminal prosecutions, including for international war crimes, by applying to a magistrate for an arrest warrant.

The new law, passed last month, now requires individuals to seek the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions before an arrest warrant can be issued for crimes that have been committed outside Britain.

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