Cablegate: Lebanon Tribunal: Management Committee Adopts


DE RUCNDT #0198/01 0641859
O 041859Z MAR 08




E.O. 12958: N/A


B. USUN 153
E. USUN 171

1. (SBU) BEGIN SUMMARY. UN Legal Counsel Michel advised the
Management Committee for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon on
February 29 that the UN has not received any new
contributions to the Tribunal since Saudi Arabia provided $5
million earlier in the month. Although the UN has not
received written confirmations, it has heard that at least
two other Arab states (i.e., Kuwait and the UAE) intend to
make anonymous contributions. Michel also said the
Secretary-General has selected the Registrar and plans to

brief the Council this month on the Tribunal. The Committee
also adopted its Terms of Reference, discussed the proposed
terms and conditions of service for the Tribunal's judges,
and discussed the UN's cost estimates ($13.5 million) for
building a courtroom and otherwise refurbishing the building
the Tribunal will occupy in the Netherlands. END SUMMARY.

Timing of the Tribunal

2. (SBU) At the first formal meeting of the Management
Committee for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, UN Legal
Counsel Michel briefed members on the UN's efforts to bring
the Tribunal into being. Although the UN is repeatedly asked
when the Tribunal will start functioning, that question is
not the right one, Michel said. What will happen, he said,
is that (1) the Tribunal's Registrar will assume duties and
set up the Tribunal's administrative structure, and then (2)
the Prosecutor will take office, accompanied, if not
immediately, by the pre-trial judge and then the judges, who
will be paid on an as-employed basis.

3. (SBU) Even so, The Tribunal will not be ready to hold
trials for quite some time -- perhaps one year, Michel said.
For instance, the Prosecutor does not have independent
authority to issue indictments, so even once the Prosecutor
has materials ready, the pre-trial judge will need to review
them before deciding whether to issue indictments. Michel
also stressed that the timeline depends on the progress of
the UN International Independent Investigation Commission
(UNIIIC) and said he hoped that its Commissioner Bellemare
would provide greater clarity on the status of the
investigation when he reports to the Security Council later
this month.


4. (SBU) The process of appointing the Registrar is "near
completion," Michel said, but because the appointment marks
such a significant milestone, the UN is still considering
when and how to announce it. Michel sought views on whether,
in announcing the Registrar's appointment, the UN also should
say when the Registrar would assume his duties, and he
proposed April 1 or May 1 as possible dates. The Dutch and
USUN both stressed the need to appoint the Registrar without
delay, particularly because work on the Tribunal building
cannot begin until a Registrar is in place (ref A). Comment:
USUN understands that the selection panel recommended a
highly qualified candidate for this position. End Comment.


5. (SBU) The UN has not received any new contributions to
the Tribunal since February 13, when Saudi Arabia deposited
$5 million, Michel said (ref B). The UN has received
indications from third parties that two Arab states (i.e.,
the UAE and Kuwait) will contribute, these states have not
informed the UN, nor have they made their contributions.


6. (SBU) OLA consultant Robin Vincent and Phil Mitnick, an
architect from the International Criminal Tribunal for
Yugoslavia who is providing guidance on the plans to
refurbish the building the Tribunal will occupy, briefed the
Committee on the current cost estimate ($13.5 million). A
detailed cost breakdown was circulated and provided to IO
(ref C). Costs are estimated at $1.5 million for building a
courtroom, $1.1 million for building ten holding cells, and
$2.1 million for installing information technology in the

courtroom. Security-related improvements, such as installing
blast-proof film on the windows, installing close-circuit
televisions and upgrading the building's access control
system, will cost approximately $5 million, while mandatory
fire safety improvements will cost $2.8 million. The budget
also includes just under $1 million for office refurbishment
to cover general maintenance-related costs. Although the
cost estimates are not based on actual designs, Mitnick said
he is confident that the figures are sound and sufficiently
reflect possible contingencies. The estimates also include
the estimated cost of overhead for contractors as well as the
standard charge assessed by the Dutch government's building
agency (RGD), which is managing the project. The Committee
did not reach a decision on the proposed construction
package, however, because several members wanted to wait
until their representatives have had a chance to tour the
Tribunal building, which Vincent hopes to arrange this week.
Note: After the meeting, USUN learned that Germany and
France plan to send budgetary and construction experts to The
Hague to tour the facility and consider the current
construction proposal first-hand. End Note.

7. (SBU) In response to USUN's questions, Mitnick explained
that the proposed courtroom information technology package,
estimated at $2.1 million, is intended to increase the
efficiency and transparency of the Tribunal's proceedings.
USUN has emailed a detailed breakdown to IO (ref D). Among
other things, the technology would permit simultaneous
translation in the three languages of the Tribunal (with
reserve capacity for a fourth language if a witness or
defendant does not speak one of the Tribunal's official
languages). The visitors' gallery would be equipped with
headphones to allow the public to listen to proceedings in
the Tribunal's three languages. Twenty-five percent of the
costs would cover "e-court" technology, which will allow the
Tribunal to save audiovisual material into a digital format,
facilitating the preparation of archives for the Tribunal and
allowing the Tribunal to post proceedings on the Tribunal's
website through streaming audio/video feeds. The package
also has features to enhance witness protection, such as by
distorting witnesses' voices and faces and by permitting
witnesses to testify from off-site. It also can facilitate
discovery by allowing electronic transmission of documents to
the defense. The proposed package is more sophisticated than
the one the Special Court for Sierra Leone currently uses,
Vincent said, but reflects the latest developments in
courtroom technology and addresses many of the gaps in
previous tribunals' technology systems.

8. (SBU) As far as when the building can be occupied,
Vincent said the Dutch security services have advised that,
with four to five weeks' advance notice, a small advance team
could use the building as long as internal security is in
place. Internal security guards from the ICTY can provide
that security, on a full-cost reimbursement basis, with one
month's notice, Vincent said. The Dutch also said the
process for getting a permit and building a security fence
for the building could be condensed from 13 to four weeks.

9. (SBU) In response to Committee members' questions,
Vincent and Mitnick clarified that, at least until the end of
2009, the Tribunal could not save costs by using the ICTY's
courtroom space. The ICTY is running eight trials in three
courtrooms and operating at full capacity. If a suspect or
suspects are arrested before the Tribunal building is ready,
however, the ICTY or the International Criminal Court could
make space available to permit the defendant to make an early
appearance, they clarified. Vincent and Mitnick also
clarified that it would not be feasible to use the ICTY's
holding cells because the ICTY is several miles away from the
Tribunal building.

Detention Facility Available

10. (SBU) In response to USUN, Vincent confirmed that the
Dutch government will allow the Tribunal to use the
Scheveningham detention facility, where the ICTY and the
International Criminal Court (ICC) currently house
defendants. Cells for six detainees could be made available
within four to six weeks if necessary, and the detention
facility will have an entire wing available by the beginning
of 2009. The UN anticipates that the Dutch government will
charge the Tribunal the same rate as the ICTY and the ICC pay
(roughly 215-220 Euros per cell per day); that rate would
include the costs of any renovations needed to accommodate
defendants before the Tribunal.

Terms and Conditions of Service for Judges

11. (SBU) The Committee also discussed whether the judges
should receive a salary of $170,080 per year (as the judges
on the Special Court for Sierra Leone do) or $136,130 per
year, which tracks the revised annual salary system
established by GA resolution 61/262 (2005), applicable to
permanent judges of the International Court of Justice and
ICTY who will begin new terms of office after January 1, 2007
(ref D). Including costs associated with the post
adjustment, the option resembling the Sierra Leone model
would cost the Tribunal $254,675 per judge; the option
following GA resolution 61/262 would amount to $220,939 per
year. Most Committee members (in particular Germany and
France) favored the second (less costly) option. Lebanon
indicated it preferred the first option but could live with
the second one. The Committee will make a final decision on
the proposal this week; unless otherwise instructed, USUN
will join other Committee members in supporting the less
costly option, although it should be noted that the judges,
who had been told that they would receive compensation along
the lines of the judges on the Special Court for Sierra
Leone, "with appropriate modifications," may be dissatisfied
with the lower figure. Comment: ICJ salaries are currently
being considered by the Fifth Committee. End Comment.

SYG's Report to the Council

12. (SBU) Michel said OLA has sent the SYG a draft progress
report to the Security Council on the Tribunal. Although the
SYG will decide when to transmit the report, OLA thinks he
should do so in the next two weeks, to provide Council
members sufficient time to review it. The Council could be
briefed on the report at the same time as Bellemare briefs
the Council on his report.

Transfer of Funds to Tribunal Account

13. (SBU) Committee members also discussed how contributions
can be transferred from the UN Trust Fund for the Tribunal to
the separate Tribunal account that the Registrar will open
once he has been selected. The UN will look into whether the
separate account to be set up for the Tribunal can use the
same Terms of Reference as the UN Trust Fund to which states
have made contributions, as some donors have requested.

Next Meeting

14. (SBU) The Committee will meet on March 6 to decide upon
the terms and conditions of service for the judges as well as
staff. Because Dutch law requires that all persons employed
in the Netherlands must have health insurance and long-term
care, long-term illness insurance, partial and total
disability benefits, survivor's benefits, and pension
benefits, the Management Committee must approve a package
that provides such benefits to Tribunal staff. As Vincent
explained to the Committee on February 21 (ref E), the UN is
proposing to meet the Dutch social security requirements for
staff by having the Tribunal join the UN Staff Pension Fund.
Although doing so would increase staff costs by about 16
percent for the duration of the Tribunal's operations,
Vincent stressed that contracting with an outside
organization to provide benefits would also entail costs.
Because the UN assumes that the judges will have pension
coverage from their current employers, the UN's proposed
terms and conditions of service for judges state that the
Tribunal will not contribute to any pension plan on behalf of
a judge Qless otherwise determined on a case-by-case basis.
Note: USUN will follow up with OLA to determine whether,
under the UN's headquarters agreement with the Netherlands,
some key Tribunal staff will receive diplomatic privileges
and immunities in the Netherlands and thus may not be subject
to the Dutch social security law. End Note.


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