The South African group Media Review Network (MRN) is trying to secure an arrest warrant against Israeli Opposition leader Tzipi Livni for her role in the Gaza war, a local news website reported Saturday.
News24 quoted MRN chairperson Iqbal Jassat as saying that Livni, who served as foreign minister during Operation Cast Lead, is due in South Africa this month on the invitation of the Jewish Board of Deputies.
"We have now been informed that she has been invited to this country and have therefore instructed our legal team to take all necessary measures to secure an arrest warrant and to pave the way for her prosecution," Jassat said.
"Our decision is based on the fact that SA is a signatory to the Rome statutes which obligates all member states to honor their responsibility in the prosecution of war criminals."
Following the Gaza war, the MRN and the Palestinian Solidarity Alliance submitted a dossier to the National Prosecuting Authority which cited Livni as one of the "key architects" of the "onslaught on Gaza's civilian population."
"We believe that her visit to this country would be an act of provocation and are therefore deeply disappointed that her hosts - the Jewish Board of Deputies - displayed such intolerance and callousness by having a known murderer who is a wanted criminal in many parts of the world, visit SA," Jassat said.
The Jewish Board of Deputies accused the MRN of playing "petty politics".
"Livni has become one of Israel's leading voices for negotiations with the Palestinians with the aim of achieving peaceful co-existence between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors," the board said in a statement.
"She has consistently been supportive of a viable Palestinian State, and this has won the respect of the international diplomatic community for her commitment to making peace."
Spokesperson Zev Krengel said the board saw no reason why the MRN's actions should thwart or hamper Livni's visit. He confirmed that Livni's visit would go ahead.
"It's pure intimidation tactics by people who do not want to see a solution to the situation in the Middle East," he added.
In December 2009 an arrest warrant for Livni was issued in the UK at the request of Palestinian applicants. The warrant was revoked after it was discovered that Livni was not visiting the country.
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