Over alleged war crimes, two South African groups seek an arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni, the head of Israel’s Kadima party, who is to visit the country next week, said Israeli media.
Quoting Channel 10, Haaretz.com said the Media Review Network (MRN) and the Palestine Solidarity Alliance (PSA) allege Livni committed war crimes during Israel’s three-week war on Gaza in late 2008-2009, when she was 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.”
The local Jewish community invited Livni to South Africa in order to give a number of speeches and hold meetings in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Previous trip to London cancelled
The decision of the MRN and the PSA to pursue Livni was called disappointed by Zev Krengel, the South African Jewish leader.
“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, saying “it is a pure intimidation tactic by people who are not interested in finding a solution to the situation in the Middle East.”
A British court reportedly issued an arrest warrant for Livni on similar charges in December 2009, but later withdrew it after discovering she was not in the country.
Although Livni was initially scheduled to travel to London for an event organised by the Jewish National Fund, followed by meetings with British government officials, she cancelled the trip two weeks before the event.
Israeli media said she called off the visit for fear of being arrested.