An attorney for Florence Hartmann, former spokeswoman of the Hague war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) arrested earlier this week for contempt of court, called on Friday for her immediate release, while French philosopher Bernard-Henry Levi called her arrest a distortion of all values, according to AFP.
Hartmann, who arrived at the ICTY on Thursday to attend the sentencing hearing in the case of Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic, was arrested on charges of contempt of court because in her book "Peace and Punishment" she revealed confidential information from the trial of former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic.
We want those responsible to immediately end her detention, said her attorney William Bourdon.
The former reporter of Le Monde and spokeswoman for former ICTY prosecutor Carla Del Ponte was given a final ruling in 2011 for contempt of court and ordered to pay a fine of EUR 7,000. She refused to pay the fine after which the ICTY changed the fine to a seven-day prison sentence, however, French authorities refused to hand her over.
Attorney Bourdon called her arrest an "archaic" move that had no place in a judiciary that was expected to respect the best international standards.
Philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy called Hartmann's arrest absurd, scandalous and without a serious legal basis.
To sentence a criminal and the person who warned about the criminal in one day... means to distort all values, said Levy.
Radovan Karadzic was sentenced this past Thursday to 40 years in prison for the genocide in Srebrenica and for other war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Hartmann's arrest has been strongly condemned by journalists' associations, including the Croatian Journalists Association (HND), which has called for her immediate release.
In the book "Peace and Punishment", published in 2006, after she stopped working as Del Ponte's spokeswoman, Hartmann wrote, among other things, that the ICTY had agreed to Serbia's request that at the trial of Slobodan Milosevic parts of documents revealing the connection between the Milosevic regime and the Srebrenica massacre be censored, the HND said.
Del Ponte has condemned Hartmann's arrest as unacceptable.