The Appeals Chamber set a new deadline by which French journalist Florence Hartmann is to pay her fine for contempt of court. Hartmann was warned that if she failed to pay the fine on time, she risked the conversion of her fine into a prison sentence. The Appeals Chamber warned Hartmann she also ran the risk of being convicted of contempt of court again and that a warrant for her arrest might be issued

Florence Hartmann in the courtroomFlorence Hartmann in the courtroom

The Appeals Chamber today issued an order to Florence Hartmann, French journalist and former OTP spokesperson, to pay the total amount of the € 7,000 fine by 25 October 2011. Hartmann was fined for contempt of court after she was found guilty in September 2009 of ‘deliberately and willfully disclosing the contents, alleged effects and confidential nature’ of the decisions of the Appeals Chamber granting protective measures to the documents of the FRY Supreme Defense Council. The documents were delivered to the Tribunal for the Slobodan Milosevic trial. In July 2011, the Appeals Chamber rejected all grounds of appeal submitted by Florence Hartmann and confirmed the Trial Chamber’s judgment and fine.

The Appeals Chamber’s order says that on 16 August 2011 Florence Hartmann informed the Tribunal’s President in writing that she is unable to pay the fine. Nevertheless, Hartmann said that ‘persons who had supported me throughout this proceeding have collected the funds required to pay this fine’ and that the amount was deposited into a French bank account. The Tribunal’s president was given the details of the account and the money transfer. Hartmann sent a similar letter a month later when the second installment was due.

In the meantime, the ICTY Registry notified the Appeals Chamber that neither the first nor the second installment was received by Tribunal’s Finance Department, as stipulated by the rules. The Appeals Chamber concluded that the fine was not paid and the French journalist was ordered to make the payment by 25 October 2011, in the manner stipulated by the Registry. If Florence Hartmann doesn’t pay the fine by then, the order states, she should provide a written explanation for the failure not later than 26 October 2011.

Pursuant to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence which were quoted at length in the order, if the fine is not paid by the deadline, the Appeals Chamber may extend it. The Appeals Chamber may also allow the fine to be paid in installments or to convert the entire fine or a part of it to a prison sentence up to 12 months in prison. Though this is not specified in the rules, it is logical to assume that a maximum prison sentence would correspond to the maximum fine, which is set at € 100,000. Consequently, an unpaid fine of € 7,000 is ‘worth’ approximately 25 days in prison.

The Appeals Chamber warned the French journalist that under Rule 77 bis of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, failure to pay the fine could result in yet another conviction for contempt of court and the new sentence would be added to the previous. Finally, the Appeals Chamber noted that an arrest order could be issued to ensure the presence of the person who failed to comply with the Appeals Chamber’s order or to provide a written explanation.