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ICTY issues arrest warrant for former spokesperson

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] Wednesday issued an arrest warrant [order, PDF; press release] for former spokesperson Florence Hartmann [BBC profile; ICTY materials, PDF] for nonpayment of a €7,000 fine imposed for a contempt of court conviction. A five-judge appeals panel reordered the fine imposed on Hartmann, a French national, and then converted the fine into a seven-day prison sentence [UN News Centre report]. The court then "directed and authorized" France to search for, arrest and detain Hartmann and surrender her to the tribunal, which is based in The Hague in the Netherlands. Hartmann's conviction was upheld on appeal [JURIST report] in July of this year, after which the court ordered her to pay her fine in two installments of €3,500 each by mid-August and mid-September, respectively. Hartmann subsequently wrote to the tribunal saying she is indigent and unable to pay her fine. She claimed that her supporters had deposited the funds to pay the fine in a French bank account, but the tribunal's finance department stated it had yet to receive either installment and, deeming the fine to have not been paid, the appeals chamber decided to convert the fine into a prison term. Hartmann formerly served as the official spokesperson for chief ICTY prosecutor Carla del Ponte [BBC profile].

In 2009 a specially appointed chamber convicted Hartmann of two counts of contempt JURIST report] for allegedly disclosing protected information of appellate chamber decisions from the trial of former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic [JURIST news archive] in a book and an article she wrote in 2007 and 2008. The original trial began in June 2009, Hartmann having been formally charged [JURIST reports] the previous August. At an initial appearance, Hartmann did not enter a plea [JURIST report] and a plea of not guilty was entered on her behalf. Before being indicted, Hartmann drew media attention by repeating allegations [JURIST report] that former US president Bill Clinton and former French president Jacques Chirac had planned a campaign [JURIST report] to capture Radovan Karadzic [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] but later backed down following a change in policy. Hartmann has also said that Russia aided in moving Karadzic to safety in Belarus, and alleged that the West helped in order to hide information about the Srebrenica massacre [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive].

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