Hague faces probe over Karadzic phone call

Hague faces probe over Karadzic phone call

A United Nations tribunal says it is investigating how Bosnian-Serb war criminal Radovan Karadzic (pictured) made an unauthorised phone call to an event in Montenegro from his prison cell in The Hague.

“The commanding officer did not give the detainee prior approval to use the communication facilities,” tribunal spokesman Olufemi Elias said. There were “reasonable grounds to believe that the detainee may have committed an offence”, he added.

Two months ago a panel of judges increased Karadzic’s sentence for genocide and other crimes in the 1990s from 40 years to life in prison.

In the March ruling, judges said the initial jail term had underestimated the “sheer scale and systematic cruelty” of his crimes. Karadzic was refused an attempt to appeal against his sentence.

Karadzic’s lawyer Peter Robinson said the convict discussed political issues in the region, including the role of Nato. “As I understand it, he urged tolerance,” Robinson told the media.

The prisoner is currently waiting to be transferred to a prison outside the Netherlands to serve his time for his role in Bosnia’s civil war, including the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

Karadzic was jaIled for the genocide of Bosniaks from Srebrenica, terrorising the civilian population of Sarajevo with a long-running campaign of shelling and sniper attacks, the persecution and extermination of Muslim Bosniaks and Croats in 20 municipalities across Bosnia and for taking UN peacekeepers hostage.

The May 3 event in Montenegro was organised by the Serbian National Council and the Serbian Information and Cultural Centre in the capital, Podgorica.

The president of the national council, Momcilo Vuksanovic, said there was nothing controversial in the convict’s call.

“He wanted to greet the participants of the forum and this was allowed. I do not see anything controversial in that,” Vuksanovic said. “He is a Hague convict, but the court had double standards when war crimes were concerned and we see that now in the judgment for…Karadzic.”

Karadzic and his military commander, Ratko Mladic, were among the final suspects put on trial by the United Nations tribunal for their roles in Bosnia’s 1992-95 civil war.

Mladic is appealing against a life sentence on similar charges to Karadzic. He was last year placed under increased monitoring after speaking to Serbia’s Happy TV in November, when the disgraced general said he was “sending kisses”.

Radovan Karadzic. Picture credit: Wikimedia

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