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Cablegate: Un/Sierra Leone Special Court: Management

VZCZCXRO7239
OO RUEHMA RUEHPA RUEHTRO
DE RUCNDT #0132/01 0441634
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 131634Z FEB 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3719
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 0994
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE PRIORITY 8987

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 000132

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL UNSC KJUS KDEM PGOV SL XA
SUBJECT: UN/SIERRA LEONE SPECIAL COURT: MANAGEMENT
COMMITTEE PREPARES FOR FEBRUARY 14-22 TRIP TO FREETOWN AND
THE HAGUE

REF: A. USUN 113
B. STATE 11738
C. 1/23/08 USUN-S/WCI E-MAIL

1. (U) SUMMARY: S/WCI Deputy Milbert Shin and USUN/MR
represented the U.S. at a February 7 meeting of the Sierra
Leone Special Court Management Committee that focused on
issues expected to be addressed during the Committee's
upcoming February 14-22 trip to The Hague and Freetown. Shin
and USUN/MR underscored the importance of conveying a strong
Committee message to senior Court officials that donor
resources are not limitless, and that every effort must be
made to ensure the Court completes its remaining tasks on
time, consistent with the benchmark dates identified in the
recently circulated revised Court completion strategy. While
in Freetown, Committee members will participate in a February
20-21 conference on residual issues. END SUMMARY.

REVISED COMPLETION STRATEGY
AND BUDGET
---------------------------

2. (U) Management Committee members, including the U.S.,
spent the morning of February 7 discussing the Special
Court's revised completion strategy and budget (copies
e-mailed to S/WCI, L, AF, IO, Embassy Freetown and Embassy
The Hague on 1/28 and 2/1, respectively). Shin, who will
participate in the Committee trip to The Hague and Freetown,
and USUN/MR joined others in raising concerns over the
reliability of the projected completion dates for the ongoing
trials and appeals - information that, if not accurate or
realistic, will only signal further delays and the consequent
need for additional contributions from donor states.
Referencing comments made by Court Prosecutor Stephen Rapp
when he met with Committee members in New York on January 22
(ref c), Dutch representative Brechje Schwachofer noted that
the projected completion date of May 2008 for the RUF trial
as reflected in the revised completion strategy was not
realistic. Schwachofer said that Rapp had indicated the
defense team in the RUF case still intended to call more than
100 witnesses. Consequently, the trial phase of the case
would not be completed until July or August, perhaps later.

3. (U) The problem with such inaccurate estimates, USUN/MR
noted, was that donors, including the U.S., were basing their
contributions on the expectation that the Court was nearing
the end of its work. Every missed deadline undermined the
Court's credibility, and made it more difficult to secure
additional funding, especially given donor fatigue and
increased demands for support from both the Lebanon and
Cambodia tribunals. USUN/MR said it was essential that the
Special Court identify realistic benchmarks which could be
met or surpassed to reassure donors that meaningful progress
was being achieved.

4. (U) Special Court New York representative Anthony Triola
estimated that in view of recent pledges to the Court made by
the UK (3 million BPS), Canada (5 million Canadian dollars),
Germany (1.5 million Euros), Ireland (600,000 Euros), and
France (500,000 Euros), the Special Court would have
sufficient funds to sustain its work for an additional 7-8
months, through August-September 2008. If the U.S.
contributes an amount similar to what was provided in recent
years (i.e., $13 million), the Court should have enough funds
to carry its work through the rest of 2008, perhaps into
early 2009. The revised Court budget projects expenses of
$36.1 million for 2008, $23.4 million for 2009, and
approximately $8.7 million for 2010, by which time the trial
and appeal phases of all the cases should be completed.

CONCERN OVER ONGOING
TENSIONS AMONG SENIOR
COURT OFFICIALS AND
STAFF MORALE
---------------------

5. (U) Members of the Management Committee also discussed
the contentious working relationship that reportedly still
exists between Court President King, on the one hand, and
Court Registrar von Hebel and Deputy Registrar Mansarray, on
the other. Committee Chair Hugh Adsett (Canada) referenced a
February 6 letter (copy e-mailed 2/7 to S/WCI, IO, AF, L,
Emb. Freetown, Emb. The Hague) he had received on behalf from
President King indicating that new procedures have been
instituted at the Special Court to facilitate interaction and
communication between the Court principals. In response to a
question posed by USUN/MR, Sierra Leone Ambassador Kanu, who
traveled to Freetown in January, reported that the situation

USUN NEW Y 00000132 002 OF 002


at the Court seemed to have improved. In particular, Kanu
cited improved cooperation between King and Deputy Registrar
Mansarray (Note: Mansarray is Amb. Kanu's sister-in-law. End
note). Committee members agreed that it was essential the
Court principals resolve remaining differences and unite to
complete the Court's mandate. Improvements in the working
relationship among the Court leaders would help to improve
overall morale among Court staff - a problem that has been
plaguing Court operations for months. Committee members
proposed that this issue be re-visited following the
Committee's upcoming trip to Sierra Leone.

RESIDUAL ISSUES
CONFERENCE
---------------

6. (U) While in Freetown, Management Committee members will
participate in a February 20-21 Conference on Residual Issues
that will be faced by the Special Court as well as by the
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
(ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
(ICTR). The conference, being funded by the Canadian
Government, will use as the basis for the discussion a paper
entitled, "Options for Addressing Residual Functions After
Physical Closure" of the Sierra Leone Special Court (copy
e-mailed 2/5/08 to S/WCI, IO, AF, L, Emb. Freetown, Emb. The
Hague) prepared by law professors at the University of
Western Ontario in Canada. In addition to Committee members,
other conference attendees likely will include
representatives from more than twenty other nations.

7. (SBU) COMMENT: The constant challenge of securing
sufficient Court financing has, for the moment, been
temporarily addressed through the provision of enough pledges
to fund Court operations through the summer of 2008.
However, continued slippage in the completion benchmarks set
forth in the most recent revised Court strategy, particularly
through ongoing Court inefficiency, only will exacerbate
ongoing fund-raising efforts, and require the continued
diversion of resources to support the Court rather than to
rebuild Sierra Leone's infrastructure and economy. End
comment.

WOLFF

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