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France won't arrest former war crimes court official

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-12-26

France has said on Monday it would not arrest Florence Hartmann, the ex-spokeswoman to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia who has been convicted for disclosing confidential decisions during the trial of Slobodan Milosevic.

AFP - France will not arrest Florence Hartmann, former spokeswoman to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, to face jail for contempt of the court, the foreign ministry said Monday.

Hartmann, a French national, was found guilty by the ICTY of contempt in 2009 for disclosing confidential details of the trial of the late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, but has refused to pay a 7,000-euro ($9,000) fine.

The court, which was set up to punish war crimes dating from the fighting that followed the collapse of Yugoslavia in 1991, has issued an arrest warrant for the journalist and sentenced her to seven days in prison.

"The texts that govern cooperation between the ICTY and France apply only to the serious crimes that the tribunal is charged with prosecuting," a French foreign ministry spokesman said in an electronic news conference.

"The charge of contempt of court, of which Mrs Hartmann has been convicted, is not one of those crimes and France would therefore have no judicial basis on which to base any eventual assistance on this," he said.

Hartmann was prosecuted for writing about two confidential appeals chamber decisions in a 2007 book on the ICTY and in a later published article.

The confidential information which emerged during Milosevic's trial allegedly implicates the Serbian state in the 1995 massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the Bosnian city of Srebrenica.

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

Del Ponte was succeeded by current prosecutor Serge Brammertz.

Date created : 2011-12-26

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