France will not extradite ex-spokeswoman to ICTY

France will not extradite ex-spokeswoman to ICTY

PARIS - Agence France-Presse
France will not extradite ex-spokeswoman to ICTY

A file photo taken on October 27, 2008 shows the former French spokeswoman for the UN's Yugoslav war crimes court's prosecutor, Florence Hartmann, appearing before the International Criminal Court in The Hague on charges of having disclosed confidential judicial information. AFP photo

France will not arrest Florence Hartmann, former spokeswoman to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, to face jail for contempt, 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 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.

The court's current spokeswoman, Nerma Jelacic, said it would be up to judges to decide whether to take further action against France or Hartmann.

"This is not something we would comment on. It really is for the judges to decide," she told AFP in The Hague, where the court is based.

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.