Britain stops activists from arresting foreigners

AP News
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Posted: Sep 15, 2011 11:04 AM
Britain stops activists from arresting foreigners

A spokeswoman for the British Embassy in Israel says her government has approved legislation that overturns a provision allowing activists to obtain arrest warrants against visiting officials they accuse of war crimes.

Britain's universal jurisdiction law allows British courts to prosecute foreigners accused of crimes against humanity, no matter where the alleged crimes were committed.

Cases filed by pro-Palestinian activists have forced a number of Israeli military and political figures to cancel trips to the country. Under the new amendment, only the government's chief prosecutor can pursue an arrest warrant.

Spokeswoman Karen Kaufman says the England's Queen Elizabeth II signed the legislation. Kaufman said Thursday the change is to make sure the court system isn't abused "for political reasons."