|Radovan Karadzic Temporarily Allowed Video Calls from Detention|
|субота, 30 мај 2020 13:47|
Lamija Grebo | Sarajevo | BIRN | May 28, 2020
Former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic has been allowed to make video calls to a close relative from the UN Detention Unit in the Netherlands while face-to-face visits are not allowed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Radovan Karadzic’s lawyer Peter Robinson told BIRN that the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals decided earlier this month to temporarily allow UN Detention Unit prisoners to make video calls to immediate relatives after the former Bosnian Serb political leader appealed to the UN court.
“On Sunday I spoke to Karadzic and he told me that the Detention Unit’s instructions on how to make video calls had been conveyed to him. He is allowed to make one video call a week lasting no longer than 15 minutes to an immediate family member,” Robinson said.
He said he hoped that Karadzic would be able to make his first call sometime this week or next week.
The president of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, Carmel Agius, had ordered the UN court’s registrar to institute temporary video communication service at the Detention Unit during the coronavirus outbreak, because neither written communications nor telephone calls could properly replace face-to-face meetings while visits were prohibited due to the pandemic.
Registrar Olufemi Elias cautioned in his response earlier this month that there was still a security issue in allowing detainees to use video communications.
“Besides the risk that video communications could be recorded and/or streamed, the supervision of video calls at the Detention Unit of the UN can only be performed from recordings and only after the calls end. This obviously limits the possibility of the Detention Unit to intervene in a timely manner in case a detainee decides to use the system for purposes other than those initially foreseen,” Elias said.
Last year, Karadzic made phone contact from the Detention Unit with a public event in Montenegro in which Bosnian Serb war crimes convict Momcilo Krajisnik appeared as a guest speaker, after which the registrar ordered that his calls should be monitored.
The year before, former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic also called in live from the Detention Unit to a show on Serbia’s Happy TV station.
In July 2019, the registrar decided to cancel a pilot project for video calls for Detention Unit inmates due to the security risks.
The pilot project was launched after several requests by Karadzic to be allowed access to Skype or some other means of video communication.
Karadzic was given a life sentence for genocide and other wartime crimes by the UN court. It still remains unclear which country will offer to allow him to serve his sentence in one of its prisons.
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