Joshua Rozenberg asks if the attorney general should have a power of veto over arrests for war crimes (see [2009] Gazette, 9 April, 7). Such a veto over judicial arrest warrants is unnecessary, given that there is no evidence that this power has been misused by the judiciary.

The UK is a signatory to the Geneva conventions and has a duty to prosecute those suspected of serious international crimes. Yet Mr Rozenberg argues that suspects from a ‘too democratic’ country ‘with which Britain has important trading links’ should not face arrest or trial in the UK, regardless of the strength of the evidence or the absence of justice for the alleged victims.

General Almog freely admitted in January 2002 to ordering the destruction of scores of houses in Rafah. As one of the legal team involved in the Almog case, I don’t accept that there was ‘no prospect’ of him standing trial for offences alleged to have occurred in Gaza (not ‘in Israel’ as Mr Rozenberg reports). Political considerations aside, there was no impediment to such a prosecution.

But Mr Rozenberg’s argument is political rather than evidential. If the action of general Almog was lawful, let the courts decide.

The longstanding principle of universal jurisdiction needs to be protected against political interference. Mr Rozenberg is to be congratulated for highlighting the very old-fashioned and anti-democratic involvement of a member of the British cabinet in decisions about individual prosecutions. The director of public prosecutions should take over decision-making about all prosecutions in such cases.

Daniel Machover, Hickman & Rose, London