UN court refuses bid to amend ex-spokeswoman's detention

29th March 2016, Comments 0 comments

The Yugoslav war crimes court has rejected a plea to improve the conditions under which it is holding Florence Hartmann, the former spokeswoman for the chief prosecutor, her lawyer said Tuesday.

French national Hartmann, 53, who was sentenced on appeal to seven days in prison after writing a book containing confidential court details, was dramatically grabbed Thursday at the tribunal's entrance as she tried to attend the landmark verdict against former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.

Her lawyer Guenael Mettraux over the weekend filed a series of applications to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague to "modify" the circumstances under which she is held, describing it as "suicide watch conditions." He had also called for her early release.

"They've refused to modify the conditions of her detention in a decision which for strange reasons they haven't made public," Mettraux told AFP.

"I have asked for these reasons to be made public and that the public be informed about what they are doing to Florence," he said.

Hartmann, a former Balkans correspondent for the French daily Le Monde, was grabbed by blue-shirted UN guards in front of the ICTY where she once worked as the spokeswoman for former prosecutor Carla Del Ponte between 2000-2006.

Hartmann was prosecuted in 2007 for revealing details of two confidential appeals chamber decisions in her book published that year.

The data, which emerged during the trial of late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, allegedly implicated the Serbian state in the 1995 massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica, Bosnia.

In 2009, Hartmann was initially fined 7,000 euros ($7,800) for contempt for disclosing confidential information in her book "Paix et Chatiment" (Peace and Punishment).

In 2011, after Hartmann had not paid the fine, ICTY judges sentenced her to seven days in jail and asked French authorities to arrest her. The French foreign ministry refused.

ICTY war crimes judges Thursday sentenced Karadzic to 40 years in jail for his role in Bosnia's 1992-95 war that killed some 100,000 people and left 2.2 million others homeless.

© 2016 AFP

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