The Israeli Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni proposed a bill to the cabinet asking for $1 million to be allocated to defend senior army officers charged in Britain with war crimes, Israeli sources reported on Monday.
It is expected that cabinet will approve the draft law in its weekly meeting next Sunday, the source said.
Livni, said the source, has appointed a special legal team with a mission to persuade Britain and other European countries to change their laws which allows their courts to persecute foreign nationals.
Livni convened an emergency meeting on Sunday after Major General 9res.) Doron Almog refrained from disembarking from his plan in London to avoid being arrested at the airport, since an arrest warrant has been issued against him in the UK.
Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, State Prosecutor Eran Shender and chief military prosecutor Avihai Mandelblit and other legal figures are in support of Livni’s proposal.
At least a dozen of Israeli army officers, including, the army chief of staff Dan Halutz and his predecessor Moshe Ya’alon may be arrested upon landing in London over war crime charges.
The Israeli Newspaper online Haaretz said on Friday, that an Israeli human rights group called, the Israeli Committee against Home Demolition (ICAHD) is behind filing these complaints against the Israeli officers.
‘It’s untenable to have a situation in which a soldier cannot step on the soil of a friendly country because some fly-by-night organization has decided to file a complaint against him,’ said a senior Justice Ministry official on Sunday.
The Justice Ministry team is directed to draft recommendations for trying to change legislation in European states whose laws embody the concept of ‘universal authority’ and have provisions for prosecuting foreign nationals for human rights violations. These countries include the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain, among others.
The team will also assess the current legal situation in different European, and will hold a country-by-country evaluation of the ‘risk factor’ for prosecution for war crimes that each nation presents to Israeli soldiers and officers. As part of this assessment, Israel’s European embassies will be asked to consult with local legal experts.