Cablegate: Lebanon Tribunal: Management Committee Discusses

DE RUCNDT #0171/01 0532100
O 222100Z FEB 08





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. STATE 1070
F. USUN 1184 (2007)
G. USUN 1150 (2007)

1. BEGIN SUMMARY AND COMMENT: UN Office of Legal Affairs
consultant Robin Vincent briefed the Management Committee for
the Special Tribunal for Lebanon on February 19 and 21
concerning proposals for refurbishing the future Tribunal
building and for compensating Tribunal staff. Describing
measures the UN is taking to get the Tribunal up and running
quickly, Vincent said the UN is a finalizing a draft budget
for the Tribunal's first year, reflecting, among other
things, the assumption that the Tribunal would begin to
operate in April 2008 to permit an overlap with the UN
Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC). Personnel
costs would account for approximately 70 percent of the
Tribunal's budget, consistent with costs of other tribunals,
he said. Based on extensive consultations with a team of
technical experts from the International Criminal Tribunal
for Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the Dutch government, Vincent
estimated the basic cost of refurbishing the building at USD
15 million. The Management Committee requested a detailed
breakdown of construction-related costs and will meet again
next week with the aim of deciding as soon as possible on the
construction and staff compensation proposals. Assuming that
these costs are reasonable, USUN intends to support moving
forward. The Committee also will formally adopt its Terms of
Reference that the main donors agreed to on February 13. END

Terms and Conditions of Service for Staff

2. At a February 21 Management Committee meeting, Vincent
reviewed four models for addressing the terms and conditions
of service for staff that the UN has developed for the
Management Committee's consideration (refs A-C). He stressed
that personnel-related costs would form the major part of the
Tribunal's budget (up to 70 percent), consistent with the
costs of other international tribunals. In projecting staff
costs, Vincent said the UN had been guided by the model of
the Special Court for Sierra Leone but had made necessary
adjustments to reflect the Tribunal's location in The Hague,
including to provide staff benefits that meet Dutch social
security requirements. To do so, Vincent proposed that the
Tribunal join the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund, noting that
doing so would increase staff costs by about 16 percent for
the duration of the Tribunal's mandate but avoid
administrative overhead expenses (that Vincent could not

3. The UN's current draft budget reflects the UN's preferred
option ("Model III"), under which the Tribunal would appoint
staff separately to duty stations in The Hague and Beirut,
with conditions of service of all staff following the
framework of the UN 100 series staff rules. Vincent
explained that the model the UN prefers is designed to
facilitate retention of UNIIIC personnel, saying that the UN
expected that UNIIIC staff would fill two-thirds of the
positions in the Prosecutor's Office. (Note: As instructed
in ref A, USUN has advised other Committee members that USUN
prefers the UN's recommended model, which the U.S. believes
to be the package that will ensure the retention of key
personnel already working for the UNIIIC but also maximize
efficiency. Other members have indicated their support for
that model too. End Note.) Vincent also indicated that the
UN is continuing to talk to UNIIIC Commissioner Bellemare
about the various options and expects to receive final input
from him shortly for the draft budget.

Staffing Levels

4. Vincent also discussed staffing levels, estimating that
the Tribunal would need 301 personnel in its first year and
up to 415-430 in its second and third years, when the UN
expects the Tribunal's activities to be at their height. The
figures reflect Vincent's discussions last fall with former
UNIIIC Commissioner Serge Brammertz, who advised that the
Tribunal would spend a large part of its first financial year
(roughly April 2008-March 31, 2009) on investigatory work,
with one-third of the staff of the Prosecutor's Office
working in The Hague and two-thirds located in Beirut.
Although filling positions will take time, Vincent explained

USUN NEW Y 00000171 002 OF 003

that recruitment should be quicker than usual for new UN
bodies because UNIIIC staff will be available. As a result,
the draft budget assumes that 90 percent of the Tribunal's
positions will be filled in the Tribunal's first year, which
is 40 percent higher than the figure the UN normally uses
when starting up a new operation. The current draft budget
predicts that during the first year, only the Tribunal's
President and one international pre-trial judge will be
needed; the remaining trial judges would take office in the
second year, and the five appeals judges would arrive in the
third year.

Planning Reflects Assumptions about Trials

5. Vincent also explained that planning is based on the
premise that the Tribunal will try a maximum of 15 suspects
and will need one trial chamber. If a second chamber is
needed, costs would go up by approximately $8 million or
more, but the Tribunal building is large enough to
accommodate a second chamber, if necessary.

Construction Costs

6. On February 19, Vincent briefed Committee members on the
proposed costs of constructing a courtroom and holding cells
and otherwise improving the Tribunal building (ref D).
Vincent explained he had been working closely with the Dutch
Government Building Agency (RGD) and a technical team from
the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY),
which includes architects, engineers, security, and
information technology experts and is assisting the UN Office
of Legal Affairs (OLA). Although the Management Committee
still needs to choose between two construction packages, as
Vincent had advised the main donors' group last fall (refs
E-G), Vincent said the cheaper package, which had been
estimated at USD 10 million, had increased to USD 15 million.
The main reason for the increase is that the RGD has
determined that the addition of a courtroom and holding cells
will turn the building into a public space, meaning that what
RGD originally had thought were optional fire safety
improvements (costing USD 3.8 million) are now mandatory.
Courtroom information technology infrastructure will cost USD
2.1 million. Vincent agreed to provide a detailed cost
breakdown to the Management Committee next week, along with
information on how the proposed improvements, particularly in
the area of information technology, compare to what tribunals
have spent on comparable work.

Construction Timeline

7. Vincent also discussed the timeline for the construction,
stressing the need for the Management Committee to reach
decisions soon to avoid delays. To try to expedite the
construction, Vincent said OLA plans to ask for the ICTY
architect who supervised the construction of ICTY's
courtrooms to work full-time for the Tribunal for three
months. Assuming work begins in March, the courtroom and
holding cells could be ready in January 2009, he said.
(Note: Vincent did say, however, that the building has
excellent conference-room facilities, which are suitable for
holding pre-trial hearings. In any case, it is not clear
whether the Tribunal will be ready to begin trials before
January because UNIIIC Commissioner Daniel Bellemare has
declined to specify when or whether he expects to have
evidence sufficient to enable the Tribunal to issue
indictments. End Note.) Vincent also clarified that offices
in the building can be occupied with four weeks' notice so a
security fence can be built and an interior security system
put in place. Although the Dutch government will provide
security for the perimeter, the Tribunal would be responsible
for interior security and will seek security-related help
from the ICTY, he said.

8. Once the Committee has decided on the construction
package, an occupancy permit and a building permit must be
obtained, which could take at least 13 weeks. RGD will have
overall responsibility for the project and will need to
develop designs and identify the construction company to
perform the work. To expedite the process, RGD has advised
that the project can be classified as "Secret," meaning that
RGD can opt out of burdensome ECC procurement regulations and
choose from a handful of firms with the appropriate
clearances. When USUN noted that the proposed process did
not envision competitive bidding, Vincent said he had been
operating under the understanding that the Committee wanted

USUN NEW Y 00000171 003 OF 003

the most expedient option, noting using competitive bidding
could create delays and increase costs.


9. Vincent also discussed current proposals for overseeing
the project. Vincent recommended that a Project Board,
chaired by the Tribunal's Registrar and including
representatives of the RGD and the technical experts from the
ICTY who are already providing input, should be established
to provide oversight. Under Vincent's proposal, the
Management Committee would not sit on the Project Board, but
the Registrar would report to the Committee. Management
Committee members agreed to consider Vincent's proposal.

10. More broadly, Committee members also discussed the need
to adopt a mechanism for providing financial oversight to the
Tribunal. Vincent recommended that the Committee adopt the
UN financial regulations and rules, as was done with the
Sierra Leone Special Court. By doing so, the UN Office of
Internal Oversight could conduct internal audits.

Role for ICTY

11. To get the Tribunal up and running quickly, Vincent said
OLA expected the Tribunal would need sustained administrative
support from the ICTY. By the end of the week, Vincent hopes
that OLA and ICTY will have a draft Memorandum of
Understanding, laying out how the Tribunal will reimburse the
ICTY for the architect's time and other services OLA has
asked ICTY to provide. Vincent has sought cost estimates on
what the ICTY would charge if the Management Committee
decides that the ICTY should handle payroll, procurement,
finance, and recruitment of national staff for the Tribunal.
Management Committee members questioned whether the ICTY
could provide assistance to the Tribunal without
authorization from the Security Council and agreed that OLA
needed to provide details on the proposal.


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