Convicted ex-UN court official receives Croatia rights award

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The UN war crimes court's former prosecution spokeswoman Florence Hartmann, who was convicted of contempt of court, on Saturday received a human rights award here.

"It is the (international) day of human rights so I could not accept not coming (to Croatia) due to an illegal warrant," HINA news agency quoted Hartmann, a French national, as saying.

Thanking the Croatian branch of the Helsinki Committee for Human rights (HHO) for her lifetime achievment award, Hartmann said she was just doing her job and described her contribution as small.

"However, small steps lead towards justice," the state-run news agency quoted her as saying.

Hartmann 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.

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.

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

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

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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