'South African Groups Seek Arrest Warrant for Livni'

Pro-Palestinian groups want Kadima leader arrested for her role in the Gaza war two years ago, South African media outlets report; Livni due to visit South Africa next week.

The Media Review Network and the Palestine Solidarity Alliance are seeking to secure an arrest warrant in South Africa for Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni, who is due to visit that country next week, Channel 10 reported citing South African media outlets.

The South African groups allege that Livni is guilty of war crimes due to her role in Israel's three-week offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in the winter of 2008-09, when Livni was foreign minister in the government of Ehud Olmert.

Daniel Bar-On

"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," MRN chief Iqbal Jassat 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 honor their responsibility in the prosecution of war criminals."

Livni was invited to South Africa by the local Jewish community to give a number of speeches and hold meetings in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

South African Jewish leader Zev Krengel expressed disappointment in the decision of the Media Review Network and the Palestine Solidarity Alliance to pursue Livni.

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.

"It is a pure intimidation tactic by people who are not interested in finding a solution to the situation in the Middle East," he was quoted as saying.