Convicted ex-UN court official in Croatia for rights award

9th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

The UN war crimes court's former prosecution spokeswoman Florence Hartmann, who was convicted of contempt of court, arrived in Croatia Friday to receive a human rights award.

The UN tribunal in October issued an arrest warrant against Hartmann, a French national, because she had refused to pay a 7,000-euro fine she was assessed in 2009.

The tribunal, which converted her fine to a seven-day prison term, had asked French authorities to arrest and transfer her to The Hague.

In Croatia, an interior ministry spokesman said the local Interpol office did not receive any arrest warrant for the former war crimes prosecution spokeswoman.

"In any case the warrant breaks the European convention of human rights," the state-run HINA news agency quoted Hartmann as saying after arriving at Zagreb airport.

The Croatian branch of the Helsinki Committee for Human rights (HHO) said earlier Friday Hartmann would receive a lifetime achievement award given to "people or institutions in country or abroad whose activities contributed significantly to the protection of human rights."

"Taking into account a delicate situation regarding Hartmann ... the HHO is in constant contact with Croatian institutions," it said in a statement.

Hartmann is due to receive the award on Saturday and leave Zagreb a day after.

She was prosecuted for writing about two confidential appeals chamber decisions in a 2007 book she authored on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and in an article published later.

The decisions related to the trial of the former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic who died in 2006.

Hartmann covered the Balkan wars of the 1990s as a journalist for the French newspaper Le Monde and went on to become spokeswoman for former ICTY chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte from 2000 to 2006.

© 2011 AFP

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