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Cablegate: Sierra Leone Special Court Prosecutor Meets With

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FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
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RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 8940

UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 000932

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KAWC NL PGOV PREL SL
SUBJECT: SIERRA LEONE SPECIAL COURT PROSECUTOR MEETS WITH
THE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

1. Sierra Leone Special Court Management Committee met,
October 25, with Court Prosecutor Stephen Rapp. Rapp, in the
U.S. on home leave, had just come from meetings in Ottawa
after addressing the Canadian Bar Association. He had also
given a speech at UCLA. Rapp reviewed progress on ongoing
cases and the future work plan. He discussed the Taylor
trial and issues relating to witness travel and relocation.
End Summary.

2. Rapp reported that the Court has been busy and cases are
moving forward. Progress has been made in the defense phase
of the RUF case. He said there are 392 witnesses who are
being examined at the rate of two per day and the defense
phase will probably close in March. The Charles Taylor trial
is on schedule to begin January 7, 2008. The Office of the
Prosecutor has started meeting with witnesses and planning
for their safety and relocation. In the area of appeals,
briefs have been filed in the FRC case and oral arguments
will begin in mid-November, making a judgment before the end
of the year possible.

3. Rapp raised the issue of Sierra Leone sanctions,
specifically the travel ban on certain individuals. He said
that the government of Sierra Leone will have to weigh in on
the issue with the Security Council but that he would favor
lifting the travel ban because it would facilitate the secure
travel of witnesses in the Taylor case to The Hague and their
subsequent relocation. Seeking individual waivers for these
witnesses would require disclosing their identity. Although
Johnnie Paul Koroma is on the list, a warrant has been issued
for his arrest which would curtail his mobility even without
sanctions.

4. On the issue of Taylor's hidden funds, Rapp reported that
victims often raise the subject of reparations from Taylor's
sizable resources. He noted that the Court could recover
about $3 million, if Taylor's funds could be located. Some
reports place his hidden funds at $400 million. The UN
Office of Crime and Drugs as well as the World Bank are
exploring ways to track the funds and both President Sirleaf
of Liberia and Sierra Leone President Koroma are watching
with interest. The Nigerian representative present said that
her government is making efforts to penetrate the web that
Taylor wove to hide his assets but that it has proven
difficult to trace his accounts.

5. Rapp said that rumors of possible sightings of Johnnie
Paul Koroma continue. Although his death was reported, it
was never confirmed and Rapp said that they must either
confirm Koroma's death or apprehend him. If the latter, he
should be tried in Sierra Leone. This may require that a
trial mechanism be maintained beyond the completion date.

6. Rapp said that adherence to a completion strategy by the
end of 2009 maybe difficult. The Registrar and Budget
offices are looking at a revision of the budget that would
take the Court four to six months into 2010. The Prosecutor
predicted that by that time his office would be operating
with a skeletal staff.
Khalilzad

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