THE CONDITIONS in which Radovan Karadzic, the former president of Republika Srpska, is serving a life sentence in a British prison on the Isle of Wight are far from all standards.
There, he is denied human rights every day, from religious ones, because an Orthodox priest cannot visit him yet, to the point that he cannot even get an ordinary table lamp that he brought from Scheveningen. That is why in the cell, when it gets dark, he can neither read nor write because the light is very weak. He complained to the prison administration about that, but they think that is enough.
Karadzic has the right to a computer, as do other prisoners, but he has been denied. They do not give him his laptop or their computer, while other prisoners use the Internet without any problems, they are allowed to download everything they are interested in from the sites, even to send emails.
Recently, there was a report on a British television about the Norwegian Andreas Breivik, who killed 77 people 11 years ago. He has conditions in the prison like in a penthouse, and he sent a sharp protest to the prison administration, because the internet is slow for him.
As Radovan Karadzic’s daughter Sonja Karadzic Jovicevic says for “Novosti”, no matter what her father was convicted of in The Hague, he was not condemned to be cut off from the world, civilization, his culture, not to be a writer.
– The conditions in which he resides are in contradiction with the UN resolution to which Great Britain is a signatory – says Sonja Karadzic.
– The resolution from 2015, in the section known as “Nelson Mendela’s Rules”, prescribes the obligation to personalize the conditions of serving the sentence. This means that they must meet the educational, cultural, religious and any other needs of the individual. On all these grounds, Britain is absolutely neither ready nor able to keep foreign prisoners in its system.
Catastrophic conditions are also in the Estonian prison where Milan Martic, the former president of the Republika Srpska Krajina, and Dragomir Milosevic, a general in the Republika Srpska Army, are serving their sentences. They have been isolated for years and have contact only with guards and a few prisoners.
Martic’s lawyer Predrag Milovancevic says that his client was practically expelled into exile, that the prison administration, unlike other prisoners, does not allow him to work, and he has to pay for everything – from food to toothpaste:
– Our complaints are not responded to, no matter whether the president of the court in The Hague was Patrick Robinson, Theodor Meron or Carmel Adjius. There was no adequate reaction to any of the addresses, but we will “check”, “consider”, and nothing. We list 15 problems, which represent a violation of international standards and conventions, but this is reversed in the court’s response. They say “we see it, but it’s not a problem”. He just won’t solve it. All this speaks of conscious action with the aim of making serving the sentence as unbearable as possible.
Milovancevic also points out that earlier, the Red Cross visited Martic in prison, wrote down all the problems he has, but they did not mention them in the UN report. The actions of the Hague Tribunal in these cases can be said without a doubt that they are in the spirit of “we condemned you and sent you there to be as bad as possible”.
Despite all this, no association fighting for human rights or monitoring prisons has responded. Neither the domestic bar associations, nor before the court in The Hague, nor before the international associations of defense attorneys, appeared. This was confirmed for “Novosti” by Momcilo Bulatović, the president of the Belgrade Bar Association.
– Lawyers do not have many possibilities for reaction, nor would it be good to skip the state – says Bulatović.
– The real address is the Ministry of Justice. The Chamber can only initiate before our Ministry to request, for example, that after two thirds of the sentence served, these people be released, because some are released and others are not. It is the state that extradited them to The Hague, and it should monitor the entire process, from the trial to their serving their sentences and positions in prisons. As a member of the UN, it also has a way to intervene.
Our convicts without medical care
OUR convicts in Estonia have problems with scheduling medical examinations, they do not know the language, they do not have an interpreter and it is difficult to explain what health problems they have. They are far from Serbia, there is no direct traffic connection and families only manage to visit them once a year for only a few days.
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