The UN court that sentenced war criminal Radovan Karadzic to life in prison has decided to monitor his non-privileged phone conversations in the next seven days and listen to those he made since May 1 after the former Bosnian Serb leader took part in a public debate in Montenegro via telephone from his prison cell, the court said on Tuesday.
Karadzic appearing in the debate sparked concern among victims associations in Bosnia, which sent a letter to the registrar of the Hague-based court, the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT).
“As we learned from media, convicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic spoke on the phone from The Hague and took part in a debate in Montenegro that was led by another war criminal, Momcilo Krajisnik. Karadzic said there that ‘states and children are born in blood’ after which Krajisnik told him ‘to stop lying around there and come back here’,” said the victims’ association.
Krajisnik is also a war criminal who was released by the UN court in 2013 after serving two-thirds of his 17-year prison sentence.
According to a decision which was signed by United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Registrar of IRMCT, Olufemi Elias, and sent to media, “the External Relations Office of the Mechanism has advised the Registrar that on the evening of 3 May 2019 the Detainee appeared to have participated in a public event (lecture/discussion) in Podgorica, Montenegro.”
The decision said that “the Commanding Officer had not given the Detainee prior approval to use the communication facilities available at the UNDU (United Nations Detention Unit) to publicly disseminate information in any form.”
Monitoring Karadzic’s “recent, past and future non-privileged calls for a certain period of time is necessary to investigate the possible offence and thereby help to ensure the security and good order of the UNDU and is in the interest of the administration of justice,” it said.
Former President of wartime Republika Srpska (RS), now a Serb-dominated semi-autonomous entity within Bosnia, Radovan Karadzic, was sentenced on March 24, 2016, to 40 years in prison by the now-closed International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
The IRMCT, which is the successor of the ICTY, increased his sentence to life in prison on appeal on March 20 this year.
Karadzic was convicted of various crimes against humanity, including the ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks and Croats, the siege of Sarajevo, the Srebrenica genocide and taking the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) hostages during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.