|UN War Crimes Court Promises Video Calls for Detainees|
|Написао Emina Dizdarevic | BIRN|
|четвртак, 07 мај 2020 15:09|
Emina Dizdarevic | BIRN | May 4, 2020
The president of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals in The Hague said a temporary solution should be found so inmates at the UN Detention Unit can make video calls to relatives during the coronavirus pandemic.
Carmel Agius, the president of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, ordered the UN court’s registrar to institute a video communications service for detainees such as former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic by May 14.
Agius said that neither written communications nor phone calls can replace face-to-face meetings while visits are prohibited due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I consider that a temporary solution should be investigated, which will enable video communication on a limited basis with the necessary restrictions to reduce the possibility of broadcasting the communication until a more permanent solution has been found,” Agius said in his decision.
He also said that he was bearing in mind that “the detainees will probably have an increased concern about the safety of their family members, particularly those of older age who may be susceptible to COVID-19, and they would benefit from additional means of communication with their dearest ones”.
Karadzic’s defence had asked Agius to allow the former Bosnian Serb political leader to make video calls because his family members would not be able to visit him at the UN Detention Unit in the Netherlands due to the pandemic. All visits are currently suspended.
Karadzic has demanded several times to be allowed access to Skype or some other kind of video communication to speak to his family.
But a pilot project that enabled the Hague war crimes court’s detainees to make and receive video calls via the internet was discontinued in July 2019 because of security concerns.
Video calls were described as risky because they could not be monitored in real time due to the technical and resource limitations of the UN Detention Unit.
Karadzic was sentenced to life in prison in March 2019 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 Bosniaks and Croats in 20 municipalities across the country, and taking UN peacekeepers hostage.
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