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Cablegate: Guidance: Consultations On the Special Tribunal

VZCZCXYZ0019
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #1311 0861906
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 261901Z MAR 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0000
INFO RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE IMMEDIATE 0000

UNCLAS STATE 031311

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: UNSC LE SY PTER
SUBJECT: GUIDANCE: CONSULTATIONS ON THE SPECIAL TRIBUNAL
FOR LEBANON, MARCH 27


1. (U) USUN may draw from the points in para 2 below during
UNSC consultations on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon
currently scheduled for March 27.

2. (U) Begin points.

-- I would first like to thank Under Secretary General Michel
for his informative briefing and for all the efforts he and
his staff have undertaken to implement resolution 1757. The
UN has made tremendous progress in setting up the Special
Tribunal for Lebanon since resolution 1757 was adopted in May
2007, and this has in large part been due to Mr. Michel,s
tireless commitment, which we salute.

Why this issue is important

-- It is timely and appropriate that we discuss the Tribunal
now, just two months after the latest political
assassination in Lebanon, which killed Internal Security
Forces Captain Wissam Eid. This attack, of course, was just
the latest in a campaign of assassinations targeting
pro-independence and democracy forces in Lebanon. I also
cannot ignore the attack on January 15, which struck a U.S.
Embassy vehicle, injuring two Lebanese employees of the
embassy and three Lebanese passers-by.

-- These heinous attacks will only stop when those
responsible realize that they will be held to account, which
is what makes operationalizing the Special Tribunal quickly
so important. As the Secretary General has said, the
Tribunal is now a reality, and the process of bringing to
justice those responsible for the assassination of former
Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and others, is irreversible.

-- In any discussion of Lebanon, it is impossible to ignore
the continuing political crisis. Although the Lebanese seem
to have reached consensus on a presidential candidate, we are
deeply troubled by the fact that a minority, backed by Syria
and Iran, are using extra-constitutional preconditions to
continue to block the elections. This must stop. As the
Arab League summit begins in Damascus, we call yet again on
the Lebanese Parliamentary Speaker to open Parliament and
allow Lebanon's democratically-elected MPs to fulfill their
responsibility to elect a President in accordance with their
constitution and without delay or preconditions.

Four points on the Tribunal

-- I wish to make four specific points about the Tribunal and
the Secretary General's report on the implementation of
resolution 1757.

-- First, we commend the considerable progress the UN has
achieved in setting up the Tribunal, including the signing of
a Headquarters Agreement, the appointment of a prosecutor and
a registrar, the selection of judges, the establishment of a
Management Committee, and the receipt of significant
contributions and pledges.

-- Second, we urge the UN to continue making progress in
operationalizing the court and to demonstrate further that
the process of securing justice for Lebanon is irreversible.


-- Third, we congratulate all of the Member States who have
already made donations to the Tribunal. We also encourage
donor countries to continue to support the Tribunal
financially. The United States has so far pledged $14
million toward the setup and the first year of the Tribunal's
operation, and we expect to remain a significant contributor
over the lifetime of the Tribunal. We encourage other
donors to continue to do their part as well and, in this
regard, to advise the Secretary General that they intend to
contribute to the Tribunal throughout its lifetime.

-- Fourth, we call on all parties to support the integrity of
the Tribunal. The Tribunal must pursue justice wherever its
investigation leads, and member states should not attempt to
prejudice that effort by suggesting political arrangements
meant to protect certain parties from prosecution. The
United States fully supports the Tribunal and the efforts it
will undertake, and expects all states to do the same.

Conclusion

-- In conclusion, we note that the Special Tribunal is a
crucial element in the effort to end impunity for political
assassinations in Lebanon and beyond. For months now,
several dozen members of the Lebanese parliament have been
confined to a hotel in downtown Beirut, seeking refuge from
the very real threat of assassination that they face every
day. How ironic that the perpetrators of these crimes
continue to live their lives in freedom while their potential
victims have effectively become prisoners in their own
country. These brave individuals are counting on this
Tribunal to take action as quickly as possible so that those
responsible are identified, taken into custody, and brought
to justice. We welcome this opportunity for an update on the
Secretariat's efforts to set up the Tribunal and look forward

SIPDIS
to receiving a similar update from UNIIIC Commissioner Daniel
Bellemare on the status of his investigation in April.

End points.
RICE

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