Yugoslav court ex-official to be freed Tuesday: lawyer

29th March 2016, Comments 0 comments

The ex-spokeswoman for the former chief prosecutor of a UN war crimes court was to be freed later Tuesday after serving several days in jail for contempt, her lawyer told AFP.

Florence Hartmann "will be released today. I just spoke with her and she is gathering her things together," lawyer Guenael Mettraux said, adding she was "very happy".

Hartmann was arrested on Thursday when she turned up at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to attend the verdict on former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.

A former journalist for Le Monde, Hartmann had unexpectedly arrived at the tribunal in The Hague for the judgement in Karadzic's long-running trial on charges of genocide and war crimes in the 1992-1995 Bosnian war.

Facing an outstanding warrant for her arrest, Hartmann, 53, 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.

The ICTY said it was just exercising a warrant issued after Hartmann failed to pay a fine imposed by the court for revealing details of two confidential appeals chamber decisions in her book published in 2007.

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

In 2011, after she failed to pay the fine, ICTY judges sentenced her to seven days in jail and asked French authorities to arrest her. The French foreign ministry refused.

The ICTY on Tuesday confirmed Hartmann had been granted early release, saying it would be "effective as soon as practically possible" without giving a day.

© 2016 AFP

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