Karadzic probed over ‘jail call to Montenegro rally’

Radovan Karadzic appears in court at The Hague in this July 11, 2013 file photo. (Reuters)

A UN tribunal ordered a probe Tuesday after former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic allegedly took part in a public event in Montenegro via telephone from his jail cell in the Netherlands.

The incident came just two months after Karadzic had his sentence for genocide and other crimes in the 1990s increased to life behind bars by appeals judges in The Hague.

“On the evening of May 3 the detainee appeared to have participated in a public event (lecture/discussion) in Podgorica, Montenegro,” the UN court’s registrar Olufemi Elias said in a court document.

“The commanding officer did not give the detainee prior approval to use the communication facilities,” Elias said, adding there were “reasonable grounds to believe that the detainee may have committed an offense.”

The registrar had now ordered that the detention unit’s commander “listens to and summarizes” Karadzic’s non-privileged phone calls for the past five days, he said.

Karadzic’s lawyer Peter Robinson confirmed to AFP that his client on Saturday joined a public discussion held in Podgorica.

“As I understand it, he urged tolerance” over political issues in the region, including on the role of NATO, which intervened in the Bosnian war, Robinson said.

Karadzic is currently waiting to be transferred to a jail outside the Netherlands to serve his time for his role in Bosnia’s bloody 1992-1995 civil war, including the Srebrenica massacre.

Appeals judges in March increased Karadzic’s sentence from 40 years to life, saying the initial jail term had underestimated the “sheer scale and systematic cruelty” of his crimes. Last month they denied Karadzic a last-ditch attempt to appeal his life sentence.

Karadzic and his military chief Ratko Mladic were among the last suspects put on trial by the UN tribunal in The Hague for Bosnia’s bloody 1992-95 civil war.

Mladic, who is currently appealing a life sentence on similar charges, was last year placed under increased monitoring after speaking to a Serbian television station in November saying he was “sending kisses”.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:53 - GMT 06:53
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