UN’s Balkan war crimes tribunal upholds contempt conviction against ex-staffer

Florence Hartmann

19 July 2011 – The United Nations tribunal set up to deal with the worst war crimes committed during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s today dismissed the appeal of a former staff member against her conviction for contempt of court.

Florence Hartmann, who served as a prosecution spokesperson at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), was convicted of contempt by the tribunal in September 2009 for disclosing confidential information in violation of a court order.

In a book she wrote and in a separate article Ms. Hartmann was found to have disclosed the contents, purported effect and confidential nature of two decisions by the ICTY appeals chamber in the case involving the former Serbian leader Slobodan Miloševic.

When convicting her, the court had said Ms. Hartmann’s actions could deter countries from cooperating with the ICTY regarding the provision of evidence.

The ICTY’s appeals chamber, in dismissing the appeal today, noted that neither the parties to a case nor third parties can decide which aspects of a confidential decision may be disclosed.

The appeals chamber also upheld the imposition of a fine of €7,000 against Ms. Hartmann. She is required to pay the fine in two instalments by mid-August and mid-September respectively.

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Ex-staffer at UN’s Balkan war crimes tribunal found guilty of contempt

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