Change to UK Law Limits NGO Ability for Lawfare Cases
Jerusalem – Following the passage of amendments to the UK’s “Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill 2010-11,” which now requires the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions before an arrest warrant is issued for a privately-instigated prosecution, opposition leader Tzipi Livni will arrive in Britain on Thursday, October 6 for meetings.
“Tzipi Livni’s trip to Britain is a significant achievement against political advocacy NGOs that had hijacked the UK legal system for their own agenda,” says Anne Herzberg, legal advisor for NGO Monitor. “NGOs such as Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Yesh Gvul, Al Haq, and Al Mezan, and their British partners Daniel Machover, the Hickman & Rose Solicitors firm, and Irvine, Thanvi, Natas, and Imran Khan & Partners initiated highly politicized PR stunts in the form of meritless legal cases, all under the guise of ‘justice’ and ‘human rights.’”
Lawfare, which attempts to label Israelis as ‘war criminals,’ is part of the broader Durban strategy, led by NGOs, to delegitimize and politically isolate Israel.
Several NGOs, including Coalition of Women for Peace, Amnesty International, and War on Want, condemned or tried to block the change in UK law. In promoting their political agendas, officials alleged that the legislation “introduces dangerous delays” and establishes the UK as “an effective ‘safe-haven’ for war criminals.”
Adds Herzberg: “In fact, the law preserves the UK’s ability to adjudicate universal jurisdiction cases, while guaranteeing that NGOs and other private bodies will not be able to abuse the British legal system.”
For more information on lawfare in the UK, see:
- Factsheet: The United Kingdom Changes Its Universal Jurisdiction Law, September 20, 2011
- NGO ‘Lawfare’: Exploitation of Courts in the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 2nd Expanded Edition, NGO Monitor Monograph Series, December 9, 2010
- Anne Herzberg, “Lawfare Against Israel,” Wall Street Journal Europe, November 5, 2008
NGOs and lawyers behind politically-motivated universal jurisdiction cases in the United Kingdom:
- Daniel Machover (co-founder Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights and head of civil litigation for Hickman & Rose Solicitors) – in concert with the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) and Yesh Gvul – submitted evidence files to the Anti-Terrorist and War Crimes Unit of the London Metropolitan police regarding former IDF Southern Command Chief Maj. Gen. (res.) Doron Almog. When police declined to act on the files, lawyers applied for an arrest warrant. Almog traveled to London, but did not leave the plane once he learned of the arrest warrant (Aug. 2005). An unsuccessful suit was filed in 2004 against Shaul Mofaz. PCHR is funded by the EU, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Ford Foundation, Open Society Institute, Oxfam NOVIB; Yesh Gvul’s funding is completely non-transparent.
- Al Haq and Al Mezan – with the assistance of London law firms Irvine, Thanvi, Natas and Imran Khan & Partners – sought an arrest warrant for Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak, but were declined on immunity grounds (Sept.2009). Al Haq’s funders include NGO Development Center (Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands), Norway, Diakonia (Sweden), ICCO and Kerk in Actie (funds originated with Dutch government), Ireland, Spain, and Open Society Institute; Al Mezan is funded by NGO Development Center, Norway, Open Society Institute, Diakonia (Sweden), and the EU.
- The Hamas NGO TAWTHEQ filed an arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni which was revoked once it was deemed she was not present in the UK (Dec. 2009).
- A military delegation canceled a trip to the UK over arrest fears (Jan. 2010).
- Media outlets reported that Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor canceled a private trip to the UK after he was advised he could face charges (Nov. 2010).
- MK Amir Peretz escaped an arrest in the United Kingdom by changing his flight plans (July 2011).