Former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic appealed against a decision by the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals to end a pilot project that allowed Hague detainees to use online video-telephone technology.
Radovan Karadzic’s lawyer Peter Robinson said on Monday that the decision not to allow inmates at the United Nations Detention Unit in the Netherlands was wrong because it prevented his client, a long-term detainee, from communicating with his family.
“President Karadzic contends that the decision violates his right to family life, when considering the length of his detention and distance from his family, and the ubiquitous use of video communication technology in today’s society and in prisons throughout the world,” said Karadzic’s appeal against the decision.
Karadzic’s appeal pointed out that the former Bosnian Serb political leader has been in the UN Detention Unit for 11 years and will probably be there for longer until a country is found that is ready to accommodate him in one of its prisons to serve his life sentence for genocide and other wartime crimes.
The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals decided last week to discontinue the pilot project that enabled the Hague war crimes court’s detainees to make and receive video calls via the internet, saying there were security risks.
The pilot project was launched after former Karadzic demanded several times to be allowed access to Skype or some other kind of video communication to speak to his family.
But the Hague court decided to stop the video calls because they cannot be monitored in real time due to the technical and resource limitations of the UN Detention Unit.
It said that detainees had previously misused the communications system at the Detention Unit for making public statements or taking part in TV shows without permission from the Detention Unit chief, as required by the rules.
Earlier this year, Karadzic made a phone call to participants at a public forum in Montenegro in which Bosnian Serb war crimes convict Momcilo Krajisnik appeared as a guest speaker.
At the end of last year, former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic called in live from the Detention Unit to a show on Serbia’s Happy TV station.
The final verdict in Mladic’s trial is expected next year.