Belgium court orders arrest of former Israel top official for war crimes
Belgium court orders arrest of former Israel top official for war crimes

A Belgian court on Friday ordered the arrest of former Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel, Tzipi Livni [official profile], when she disembarks the plane on her scheduled trip to Belgium. Livni is accused [MEM report] of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during her time as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006-2009. She oversaw the Israeli military operation “Cast Lead” in the Gaza Strip from which the crimes allegedly stem. Livni was one of several Israeli officials named in the lawsuit filed by a group of victims in 2010 in response to the military activities in Gaza. Livni, who is a member of the Israeli parliament, was set to meet with Jewish leaders in Brussels, but canceled the trip before the report of the arrest order came out, citing “personal reasons.”

It is not the first time that Livni has had to cancel a trip to Europe because of the fear of getting arrested. Livni was set to speak at the Jewish National Fund Vision 2010 conference in London, but cancelled her travel plans after a British court issued an arrest warrant [JURIST report] for her. In 2011 the UK avoided a similar situation, when they announced that Livni would enjoy diplomatic immunity [JURIST report] while in the country to discuss the UK-Israel relations. The practice of giving immunity to foreign officials who are accused of serious crimes under international law, in order for the host country to avoid having to arrest them, has received some criticism. The critics argue [JURIST op-ed] that the countries giving immunity are not living up to their responsibility under international law and is complicit in creating impunity for international crimes