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Cablegate: Un/Sierra Leone Special Court: Management

VZCZCXRO2222
OO RUEHBZ RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUCNDT #0607/01 2061621
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 251621Z JUL 07
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2332
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 0897
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE PRIORITY 8915

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 000607

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL UNSC KJUS KDEM PGOV SL XA
SUBJECT: UN/SIERRA LEONE SPECIAL COURT: MANAGEMENT
COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN MCNEE'S JULY 10 LETTER TO AMBASSADOR
KHALILZAD SEEKING SUPPORT FOR THE SPECIAL COURT


1. USUN has received a letter dated July 10, 2007 (full text
- para 2) from Canadian Ambassador John McNee, current
Chairman of the Sierra Leone Special Court Management
Committee, addressed to Ambassador Khalilzad seeking
additional U.S. financial support for the Special Court. The
Special Court's New York representative recently informed
members of the Management Committee that as of June 30, the
Court had approximately $10.6 million in its account, an
amount sufficient to sustain ongoing Court operations in
Freetown and The Hague only until mid-October. Court
officials have repeatedly emphasized to USUN that they are
depending on a U.S. contribution to cover Court costs, now
averaging approximately $2.8 million per month, through the
balance of 2007 (i.e., November and December 2007) and into
early 2008 until additional contributions from other donor
states are received.

2. Text of July 10, 2007 letter from Special Court Chairman
McNee to Ambassador Khalilzad:

Begin text:

Excellency,

I am writing to you in Canada's capabity as chair of the
Management Committee of the Special Court for Sierra Leone,
to draw your attention to several important developments at
the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

You will, of course, have noted the recent appearance of the
President and Prosecutor befor the Security Council, and the
subsequent adoption by the Council of a Presidential
Statement supporting the Court's work (S/PRST/2007/23). You
will also have seen the news from Freetown that the Judges of
Trial Chamber II have delivered their verdict in the AFRC
case. A verdict in the CDF case is also expected shortly.
And the trial of the former President of Liberia, Charles
Taylor, has begun in The Hague. These are all significant
milestones in the Special Court's life.

Such progress has only been possible thanks to the continued
hard work and dedication of the staff of the Court. Their
tireless efforts, particularly over the past few months when
the Court has had the additional challenge of establishing
parallel facilities in The Hague, deserve our most sincere
appreciation.

These past months have also been a time for re-evaluation.
Last September, the Management Committee invited Judge
Antonio Cassese to undertake an "independent review" of the
Court, with the intention of identifying changes or
improvements that might help the Court complete its work in
Freetown more expeditiously and efficiently, and ensuring the
Court was well prepared for the trial in The Hague. Judge
Cassese's reports - the full tet of which can be found at

- highlighted the "remarkable achievement" of the Court to
date: not least the speed with which it established itself;
the rapid detention of indictees; the way it has grappled
with novel issues of international criminal law; the
"exemplary" outreach programme; and the groundbreaking
establishment of a Defense Office.

However, the report also identified several areas needing
attention if the Court was to continue that success. In
particular, he criticized the funding arrangements of the
Court, and noted that the voluntary funding arrangements for
the SCSL had meant not only continued financial insecurity,
but also a history of false economics (for instance, he
observed that early decisions to provide judges with only
limited support had reduced the Court's costs initially, but
resulted in delays in trial proceedings and decision writing,
and therefore to increased costs in the long term).

One such false economy, and another of Judge Cassese's key
criticisms, was the fact that the Court had a non-resident,
part-time President. This, he said, had resulted in a lack
of leadership, weak coordination mechanisms, and insufficient
ownership, particularly by the judges, of the Completion
Strategy. He also considered that the Defense Office was not
providing the defense teams with the level of support that
had originally been envisaged. Finally, although his remit
was to focus principally on judicial operations, Judge
Cassese made several recommendations concerning day-ti-day
management issues at the Court, including the need for better
strategic leadership, improved communication between the
different sections, and better provision for staff training.


USUN NEW Y 00000607 002 OF 002


I am pleased to say that the senior leadership of the Special
Court moved swiftly to address the most important issues
identified in Judge Cassese's report. Inter alia, there is
now a full-time, resident President; amendments have been
made to the rules of procedure to streamline the Court's
proceedings; and several new posts have been provided to lend
additional support to the judges. A review of the role of
the Defense Office has also been undertaken. Meanwhile,
management practices at the Court have changed, with better
coordination between sections, clearer lines of communication
and more information sharing. As a result the Court is on
track to complete its work in line with the benchmarks set
out in its Completion Strateby (the latest update). In this
regardk i would like to pay particular tribute to the
President, Judge George Gelaga King, and the Registrar,
Herman von Hebel, who have both played pivotal leaderhsip
roles over the past fews .

The Management Committee has also changed its approach in the
light of Judge Cassese's recommendation to "work out a tight
and final plan for the completion of the Court's activities."
Rather than continuing with the practices of approving
annual budgets, we requested a number of unknowns at this
stage, not the least of which is legacy issues, which will be
an important strand of work for the Management Committee in
the coming months. However, the Completion Budget provided
to us by the Court (and approved by the Management Committee
in June 2007), sets out for the first time in one document
how the financing of the Court will look over the rest of its
life. As you will see from the summary of the budget
(S/2007/388), the Court is looking strategically at how it
will meet the remaining milestones in the Completion
Strategy, including managing the process of drawing down
staff and resources as the Court gets into its appeals phase
and the, finally, ceases operations in early 2006. (The full
budget can be found at: www. sc-sl.org/documents/
budget/2007-2009.pdf.

The Completion Budget gives us all welcome clarity. However,
it also sets out the scale of the fundraising task ahead.
The bottom line is that we need just under $90 million U.S.
dollars more to cover the Court's costs over the end of its
lifetime. And while that is a low figure by international
standards, we are still struggling to raise the voluntary
contributions necessary to cover the Court's monthly costs,
let alone give it the financial security Judge Cassese put so
much emphasis on in his report. The continued support of
countries such as yours is vital. It means that we gave
raised nearly $30 million of that $90 million. But, at this
stage of the Court's life, when it has to pay for operations
not only in Freetown but also in The Hague, that is
unfortunately only enough money to keep the Court financially
afloat until October 2007. So please consider whether your
country could give more to the Special Court. Every
donation, no matter now small, takes us closer to our $90
million fundraising target.

Finally, let me take this opportunity on behalf of the entire
Management Committee to express our thanks for the interest
and support shown to the Special Court to date.

With best regards,

John McNee
Ambassador and Permanent Representative

End text.


KHALILZAD

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