Karadzic Interview Request Denied
The president of the Hague tribunal has denied former Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic’s request to be interviewed by a German journalist inside the Hague detention unit.Karadzic’s request was initially made in August to the tribunal registrar, who turned it down.
The tribunal has never allowed detainees to give media interviews face to face, although they can answer written questions approved by the tribunal. Karadzic based his argument on the fact that the BBC was given access to the detention unit for a recent television report.
On this point, the registrar replied that the BBC was not granted permission to communicate with any of the detainees, nor was it given access to any area while it was being used by them.
Karadzic asked tribunal president Judge Theodor Meron to review the registrar’s decision on the grounds that he had “failed to consider the possibility of a face-to-face interview in the tribunal’s main building”. A meeting there, he argued, would not violate rules forbidding interviews within the detention unit.
Judge Meron found that the registrar “acted in accordance with the rationale of… the rules of detention, which aims to protect confidential information, when he concluded that its application covers communications between journalists and detainees both inside the tribunal’s main building, as well as at the UNDU [detention unit]”.
The judge further found that the fact that Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin was not interested in a written interview did not amount to “a denial of Karadzic’s freedom of speech”.
Judge Meron determined that the registrar “observed basic rules of natural justice and procedural fairness”, and that Karadzic had failed to provide grounds for quashing the decision.
Rachel Irwin is IWPR’s Senior Reporter in The Hague.