UN Court Stops Hague Detainees Making Online Video Calls

The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals has decided to discontinue a pilot project that enabled the Hague war crimes court's detainees to make and receive video calls via the internet, saying there were security concerns.

The pilot project was launched after former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic demanded several times to be allowed access to Skype or some other kind of video communication to speak to his family.

"The chief of the United Nations' Detention Unit identified and analysed a high security risk of the current system, and that is the fact that video calls by detainees might be recorded or broadcast live on social networks on the internet, as well as the lack of modalities for preventing that," said the decision by the UN court's registrar's office.

The video calls are risky because they cannot be monitored in real time due to the technical and resource limitations of the UN Detention Unit, it added.

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.

After each incident, the registrar's office ordered that the men's phone calls be monitored for a certain period of time.

"Reports and recommendations by the Detention Unit chief suggest that detainees cannot use video communication in a...

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