UN court turns down request for probe into Milosevic leak

18th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

A UN war crimes court Monday declined to prosecute for contempt of court a former detention unit commander suspected of leaking private information about Serb strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

The court's decision followed a request by former Bosnian Serb political head Radovan Karadzic and co-accused Vojislav Seselj, both of whom face charges before the court, that an investigation be opened against the prison official, Tim McFadden.

"The chamber declines to make use of its powers" to initiate contempt proceedings against McFadden, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) said in a court document made public.

The request from Karadzic and Seselj stems from a US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks in February in which McFadden allegedly revealed details of Milosevic's life in prison in The Hague, where he died in 2006 before his trial could be completed.

The information allegedly revealed Milosevic's personal detention preferences, private communications with his wife, his views on his legal advisors and information about his health, said the court document.

The US embassy in The Hague sent the cable in November 2003, when Milosevic's mammoth trial before the ICTY was in its second year, WikiLeaks revealed.

McFadden interacted with Milosevic on a daily basis and had access to the content of his monitored calls with family and friends and the former president's medical records, the cable noted.

In his decision Monday, ICTY judge Bakone Justice Moloto said the court "finds no reason to believe that Mr McFadden's conduct interfered with the tribunal's administration of justice."

But he added: "The chamber... has carefully considered the matter and is cognisant of the fact that the alleged conduct may bring the institution... into disrepute."

"Considering that Mr McFadden may have breached a duty, the chamber clarifies that (it) does not exclude other remedies to address the matter," he said.

This included dealing with the matter internally according to the UN's staff rules and regulations "to prevent a repetition of such conduct or by any external judicial or non-judicial measures," the judge said.

© 2011 AFP

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