War crimes judge receives death threat

War crimes judge receives death threat
Security staff outside security chamber at Stockholm district court, Friday
A Stockholm district court judge overseeing an ongoing trial against a Bosnian suspected of aggravated war crimes during the Balkan conflict has received a death threat.

The judge received a threat over the phone days before the trial began two weeks ago. The judge is in charge of a case against a 43-year-old Bosnian suspected of serious crimes under international law.

District court security director Thomas Östman confirmed that a threat was made against one of the two judges in the war crimes trial.

“Police in Malmö are investigating the threat. I do not want to go into when or how it came in, nor what security measures we have taken,” Östman told news agency TT.

The threat was made by telephone on October 8th, several days before the trial began on October 13th. According to TT, the person who made the threat said, “We will kill you.”

The National Courts Administration (Domstolsverket – DV), which provides support and services to the courts, established a security division in 2007 after determining that there was a need for it.

“We cannot say that threats against judges have increased, but the willingness to report threats. It is primarily up to the court to determine the security measures needed to protect the court. We can provide financial assistance for alarm devices, for example, as well as advice,” said Håkan Sonesson, deputy security director at the agency.

Barbara Thornblad, general director of the agency, said that it has taken many steps to improve the security for the courts to protect all court staff.

“It is of course serious for anyone to be threatened. However, when a judge is threatened, there is an additional element because the threat is directed against the legal system and is ultimately serious for the whole community,” Thornblad told TT.

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