The Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) on Friday condemned the arrest of a French reporter and a former spokeswoman for the prosecution of the Hague-based UN tribunal, Florence Hartmann, insisting on her immediate release.
Hartmann was apprehended outside the building housing the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague on Thursday, when she joined an association of mothers of killed Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) while waiting for the ICTY to render a verdict against wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.
In mid-November 2011, the ICTY issued a warrant for Hartmann's arrest after, in 2009, the tribunal found her guilty of contempt and fined her 7,000 euros. Since she did not pay the fine, it has been converted into a prison term of seven days. Hartmann, a French journalist, served as spokeswoman for the then Chief Prosecutor Carla del Ponte from 2000 to 2006. In 2009, she was found guilty of contempt of the tribunal because she had disclosed two confidential court decisions from the trial of former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in her book.
Hartmann said that the judgement against her relied on non-existent legal standards that granted confidentiality status to documents indicating Serbia's involvement in genocide in Srebrenica, eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In December 2012, France ruled out the apprehension of her national Hartmann.
In its press release, the Croatian Journalists' Association recalls that it is impermissible to try to cover up facts important for topics such as war crimes.
"Those who expose important facts mustn't be punished and therefore the HND supports Florence Hartmann in her fight against censorship," said the Croatian association