A French journalist revealed the truth about war crimes, and was arrested by the UN this past week at The Hague.
She wrote a news article and book which earned a contempt of court sentence, handed down by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which is now run by the United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, as you can read about in the PDF below.
The news article was entitled “Vital Genocide Documents Concealed” and published by the Bosnian Institute.
Florence Hartmann was a journalist for Le Monde in the Balkans during the 90s, who later worked for the ICTY as its spokeswoman from 2000 to 2006.
She later wrote about the international appeals court and its secret decision to seal information, which would prove Serbian responsibility for the Srebrennica massacre in 1995 in a book called “Paix et Châtiment” (Peace and Punishment).
Hartmann didn’t reveal the actual sealed documents.
Never the less, ICTY found Hartmann guilty of contempt of court in 2009, sentencing her to a fine of 7,000 euros.
Hartmann appealed the verdict and the punishment citing the commercial failure of the book as a hardship.
She owed her publisher 10,000 euros against the advance for the book at the time of sentencing, and according to the BBC‘s report Hartmann claimed to have deposited the funds into an account prior to her detention.
But in 2011 the ICTY converted her sentence for Contempt of Court into a 7 day term in jail, for failure to pay the fine.
The French government refused an extradition request for the journalist, who was apprehended at The Hague this past week with protesters awaiting the court’s decision on Radovan Karadzic, former Bosnian Serb leader, who was convicted of perpetrating genocide.
The protesters tried to encircle Hartmann to prevent her arrest, but
“watching General Ratko Mladić [the accused Bosnian Serb military leader] walking around the yard and associating with other prisoners while I’m locked away in a cage. The outrageous thing was to see the UN and Dutch police kick away women from Srebrenica and survivors from the camps who were trying to protect me from arrest, after all they’ve been through.”
Her lawyer Guénaël Mettraux told The Guardian that:
“Florence is in solitary isolation, totally segregated on what is called suicide watch, which in practice means that the light is on 24 hours a day and she is checked on every 15 minutes.
“I filed three motions yesterday [Thursday], one of which sought to have her granted early release no later than two-thirds of her sentence, as has been accorded to war criminals convicted by the courts in The Hague and Rwanda. I’ve asked for the same to be done for a journalist, and this would mean her being released on Tuesday.
“But the problem is that there is literally no one at the detention unit who can address my inquiries, and my application will not be addressed until after the Easter break. I asked to speak to the commanding officer, and they told me he was away, I suppose on holiday. When I asked to speak to someone about conditions of detention, they told me to call back on Tuesday.”
Dutch national law designates Monday, March 28th as a national holiday in observation of Easter.
It’s highly unlikely that a prisoner of conscience with a seven day jail sentence requires suicide watch, unless the United Nations hired Waller County, Texas jailers to supervise Hartmann for the weekend.
Ironically, United Nations courts prosecuting crimes against humanity have never heard about The Streisand Effect which describes the overt attempts to censor information having the unintended consequence of the Internet spreading that suppressed knowledge far further than its original audience.