The U.N. Yugoslav war crimes tribunal on Monday found a former prosecution spokeswoman guilty of contempt for revealing confidential court decisions made by judges during the trial of Serbia’s ex-President Slobodan Milosevic.
The court fined French national Florence Hartmann euro7,000 ($10,200) for disclosures she made in her 2007 book Peace and Punishment, which she published after leaving her job, and again in a later magazine article.
She revealed that the court had decided in secret not to disclose Serbian military documents that could have linked the government in Belgrade to atrocities such as the Srebrenica massacre committed by Bosnian Serb forces.
The original documents — minutes of Serbia’s Supreme Defence Council — are still not public. Serbia had given them to the court for Mr. Milosevic’s case on the condition they be kept secret.
Some analysts believe the documents might have helped Bosnia in its failed attempts to sue Serbia for genocide. Observers of the war crimes court say it must show it is willing to enforce confidentiality agreements, otherwise states will never lend potentially sensitive documents in future cases.
Reading a summary of the ruling, Judge Bakone Moloto said on Monday Ms. Hartmann had “knowingly and willfully interfered with administration of justice” by revealing the decisions.
He said that as a former spokeswoman, Ms. Hartmann was “well aware of what the confidentiality of a decision entailed.”
Ms. Hartmann’s lawyers had argued that the information was already common knowledge by the time she published it.