[Boycott - Other News]
Tzipi Livni cancels South Africa trip amid fear of war crimes arrest
Media Review Network
20 January 2011
PRESS RELEASE : Tzipi Livni Cancels her trip to South Africa!!
The Media Review Network and the Palestine Solidarity Alliance welcome the news that Tzipi Livni, former Israeli Foreign Minister and part of the Israeli war cabinet cancelled her trip to South Africa.
Although the announcement sights the strike in the Department of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem as the reason, we recognise that the decision by her to cancel her trip stems from her realisation of a possible arrest in South Africa, for war crimes and crimes against humanity, as a result of her direct involvement in Operation Cast Lead, in the Gaza.
Whilst we remain committed to the prosecution of Israeli war criminals, we will continue to lobby for global justice and justice for the Palestinian People.
We take this opportunity to thank the groundswell of support we received from important constituencies including Amnesty International, Congress of South African Trade Unions, the Muslim Judicial Council, Coalition for a Free Palestine and others.
Media Review Network
Palestine Solidarity Alliance
PRESS STATEMENT: Warrant of Arrest for Tzipi Livni
Media Review Network
14 January 2011
Following the horrors inflicted upon Gaza by Israel during Operation Cast Lead (between December 2008 and January 2009), the Media Review Network (MRN) and the Palestine Solidarity Alliance (PSA) lodged a formal request to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) seeking arrest warrants and prosecution of those responsible for war crimes.
The material evidence submitted to the NPA in what has come to be known as the Gaza Docket is on the basis of South Africa's obligation as a signatory of the Rome Statute to honour the provisions of International Laws and Conventions.
The imminent arrival of one of the architects of the illegal war against Gaza's besieged civilian population, Tzipi Livni, to South Africa, is viewed as a provocation and needs to be challenged. We have thus instructed our legal team to take all necessary steps to secure a warrant for her arrest and prosecution as a war criminal.
We are grateful for messages of support from many sectors of South African civil society, including trade unions and activists.
Media Review Network & Palestine Solidarity Alliance
For further details:
Chairman – Media Review Network
Co-ordinator – Palestine Solidarity Alliance
South Africa groups seek Livni arrest
16 January 2011
Pro-Palestinian groups seek arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni, who heads Israel's Kadima party, for alleged war crimes.
Two South African groups have launched a move to get an arrest warrant issued against Tzipi Livni, the chairperson of Israel's Kadima party, during a visit to the country next week, Israeli media have said.
Tzipi Livni accused of war crimes
Haaretz.com, quoting Channel 10, said the Media Review Network (MRN) and the Palestine Solidarity Alliance (PSA) allege Livni committed war crimes in her role in Israel's three-week war on Gaza in late 2008-2009.
Livni was then foreign minister in the government of Ehud Olmert.
Channel 10 was citing South African media on reporting the move.
"We have now been informed that Livni has been invited to this country and have therefore instructed our legal team to take all necessary measures to secure an arrest warrant," Iqbal Jassat, the head of the MRN was quoted as saying.
"Our decision is based on the fact that South Africa is a signatory to the Rome statutes which obligates all member states to honour their responsibility in the prosecution of war criminals."
Livni was invited to South Africa by the local Jewish community to give a number of speeches and hold meetings in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
We have now been informed that Livni has been invited to this country and have therefore instructed our legal team to take all necessary measures to secure an arrest warrant. Our decision is based on the fact that South Africa is a signatory to the Rome statutes which obligates all member states to honour their responsibility in the prosecution of war criminals.
Iqbal Jassat, Chairman - Media Review Net
Iqbal Jassat, the chairperson of the MRN, told Al Jazeera that the application for the arrest warrant filed on Friday was in pursuant of an earlier submission filed with South African prosecutors in August 2009.
Jassat said the submission was an "extensive compilation of complaints in excess of 3,000 pages containing a wide variety of substantial documentation including evidential material and affidavits from victims" that alleged Livni was one of the architects of the Gaza massacre.
"We had also asked for an investigation involving members of the South African Jewish community suspected of violating the country's Foreign Mercenary Act," he said, adding that investigations are ongoing.
"We are deeply disappointed with Livni's hosts - the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the South African Zionist Federation - for displaying gross insensitivity and arrogance by inviting a known violator of human rights to the country.
"Livni's track record as a perpetrator of war crimes stems from her official leadership roles in various capacities," he added.
Jassat said the move has received overwhelming support from civil society groups including the leadership of the Cape Town-based Muslim Judicial Council, whom he said have expressed fear that emotions may run over if Livni was to visit Cape Town as scheduled.
Zev Krengel, the South African Jewish leader, said he was disappointed with the decision of the MRN and the PSA to pursue Livni.
"First of all we are very sad that they would even want to do such a thing," Krengel was quoted as saying.
"Tzipi Livni has been an enthusiastic supporter of the peace process."
Krengel added that Livni's trip would go ahead as planned.
"It is a pure intimidation tactic by people who are not interested in finding a solution to the situation in the Middle East," he was quoted as saying.
In December 2009 a British court reportedly issued an arrest warrant for Livni on similar charges, but later withdrew it after discovering she was not in the country.
Livni was initially scheduled to travel to London for an event organise by the Jewish National Fund, followed by meetings with British government officials.
She cancelled the trip two weeks before the event, and Israeli media said she called off the visit for fear of being arrested.
UK court 'issued warrant for Livni'
15 December 2009
Israeli opposition leader cancelled London visit over fears of arrest, reports say.
A British court reportedly issued an arrest warrant for Israel's former foreign minister on charges relating to Israel's 22-day war on Gaza, before apparently withdrawing it after it was found she was not in the country.
Tzipi Livni, the leader of the opposition Kadima party, had been expected to travel to London this week for an event organised by the Jewish National Fund, followed by meetings with British government officials.
Livni cancelled the visit two weeks before the event was due to take place.
Israeli media reported on Monday that Livni had called off the trip fearing that she would be arrested after a pro-Palestinian group won a warrant for her arrest.
But Livni's office said in a statement after the reports that she had declined a request to attend the event in London due to a scheduling conflict and not because of fears of being arrested.
'Threat of prosecution'
The British foreign office issued a statement on Monday saying it was looking into the incident and its possible effect on the peace process.
"The UK is determined to do all it can to promote peace in the Middle East and to be a strategic partner of Israel," it said.
"To do this, Israel's leaders need to be able to come to the UK for talks with the British government. We are looking urgently at the implications of this case."
Bill Bowring, a professor of law at the University of London, said the threat of prosecution is making international travel increasingly difficult for Israeli officials.
"This has happened before. It's under quite old legislation, under the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949," he told Al Jazeera.
"Basically what it says is that if a person anywhere in the world commits grave breaches against civilians then that person should be arrested and prosecuted wherever they turn up in the world."
Israeli land, air and naval forces began bombarding the Gaza Strip last December, saying that it wanted to stop rocket attacks by Palestinian fighters.
A UN-sponsored report, known as the Goldstone report, has called on both Israel and the Palestinians to investigate accusations of human-rights violations committed during the conflict.
The report accuses both Israel and Hamas of war crimes, and was endorsed by the UN General Assembly last month by a margin of 114 to 18, after two days of debate.
Forty-four member-nations abstained from voting.
The report, which was compiled by a panel led by Richard Goldstone, a South African judge, had already been endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council, which sponsored the fact-finding commission.
Most of the criticism in the Goldstone report was directed towards Israel's conduct during the offensive, in which it concluded that Israel used disproportionate force, deliberately targeting Gaza civilians, using them as human shields, and destroying civilian infrastructure.
More 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the offensive, while 13 Israelis, including 10 soldiers, died over the same time period.
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