Britain’s ‘universal jurisdiction’ law amended


(JTA) — A British law that allows for the prosecution of foreign officials for alleged war crimes was amended and signed by Queen Elizabeth II.

The law had caused strained relations between Israel and Britain after several Israeli officials either canceled or shortened visits to the country over fears of being arrested for their roles in the Second Lebanon and Gaza wars.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni, for example, was forced to cancel a 2009 visit to Britain for that reason, as she served as foreign minister during the 2008-09 Gaza war.

Under the new law,  Britain’s director of public prosecutions must agree to issue an arrest warrant in universal jurisdiction cases in which the alleged crimes were committed outside of Britain. This means political considerations also will be taken into account. The new law took effect Sept. 15.

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