Tzipi Livni cancels Brussels trip amid threat of arrest

Ex-foreign minister cancels Brussels visit after prosecutors said they would question her over war crimes allegations.

    Livni, ex-foreign minister, is among those named in a complaint filed over war crimes in Gaza [Ronen Zvulun/Reuters]
    Livni, ex-foreign minister, is among those named in a complaint filed over war crimes in Gaza [Ronen Zvulun/Reuters]

    Israel's former foreign minister cancelled a trip to Brussels after Belgian prosecutors confirmed they wanted to question her over war crimes allegations.

    Tzipi Livni was expected to meet Jewish leaders in the city on Monday, but cancelled ahead of time.

    A spokesman for the event said Livni cancelled for "personal reasons" but local newspaper Le Soir said prosecutors had been hoping to question her over allegations of war crimes in the 2008-9 Israeli war in Gaza, when she was foreign minister.

    "We wanted to take advantage of her visit to try to advance the investigation," a spokesman for Belgium's federal prosecutor Thierry Werts told the AFP news agency.

    Livni is named along with other political and military leaders in a complaint filed in June 2010 over alleged crimes committed during the Gaza war.

    More than 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, died during the Israeli offensive between December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009. 

    Thirteen Israelis, including 10 soldiers, also died.

    Role in war

    Belgian authorities have the right to detain a suspect in its territory on crimes related to international law, as one of the victims had Belgian citizenship.

    The Belgian federal prosecutor's office believes Livni, now a member of parliament and opposition leader, is not protected by immunity.

    INTERACTIVE: Mapping Israel's strikes on Gaza

    The Belgian-Palestinian Association supporting the complaint said in a statement it wanted to hold Livni responsible for her role in the war, as well as Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak, then prime minister and minister of defence.

    In December 2009, Livni cancelled a visit to London after being informed that she was the subject of an arrest warrant issued by a UK court over her role in the same war.

    An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman said the planned interrogation was "a cheap publicity stunt with no legal basis".

    SOURCE: AFP news agency


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