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Israeli Military Delegation Cancels Britain Trip, Fearing Possible War Crime Charges
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
JERUSALEM — A group of Israeli military officers called off an official visit to Britain last week, fearing they could face possible arrest on war crimes charges, officials said Tuesday.
The four unidentified officers, holding ranks from major to colonel, are the latest in a string of Israeli politicians and military officials to be forced to call off travel to Britain because of fear of legal prosecution.
Britain is one of the European pioneers of universal jurisdiction, a broad legal concept that empowers judges to issue arrest warrants for nearly any visitor accused of committing war crimes anywhere in the world.
Pro-Palestinian activists have sought to use this concept to press charges against Israelis involved in military operations in Palestinian territories, particularly since last year's Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip. British officials have vowed to change the law, which has severely strained relations with Israel.
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