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Cablegate: Lebanon: Most Unsc Members Back Uniiic Extension

VZCZCXRO8499
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHTRO RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUCNDT #0329/01 1010059
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 100059Z APR 08 ZDK
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4090
INFO RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA IMMEDIATE 1026

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 000329

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PTER UNSC SY LE
SUBJECT: LEBANON: MOST UNSC MEMBERS BACK UNIIIC EXTENSION
FOR SIX MONTHS

REF: USUN 316

1. (SBU) Summary. During a public briefing and then closed
consultations of the Security Council on April 8, UN
International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC)
Commissioner and Prosecutor-designate of the Special Tribunal
for Lebanon (STL) Daniel Bellemare asked for a six-month
extension of UNIIIC's mandate (which expires June 15) until
the end of 2008. But he warned that he might need to request
an additional extension once this six-month period expires,
as the "search for justice must follow its course and cannot
be rushed." Bellemare also clarified that he had used both
the terms "terrorist" and "criminal" in his report to the
UNSC to describe those who killed Rafiq Hariri, and confirmed
that UNIIIC's analysis of the political nature of the Hariri
assassination had not changed. Most UNSC delegations
expressed a willingness to respond positively to Bellemare's
request for an extension of UNIIIC's mandate. Several
delegations praised Bellemare for his decision not to release
names of suspects until the indictment phase and warned
against any politicization of the work of UNIIIC or the STL.
In a departure from past Council practice on UNIIIC
briefings, Russia alone took the floor during the public
briefing to ask Bellemare to address the fate of the four
Lebanese generals detained by the GOL since 2005 on the
recommendation of then-UNIIIC Commissioner Detlev Mehlis, who
suspected them of involvement in the Hariri assassination.
Bellemare replied that the four generals were detained by the
Lebanese authorities based on Lebanese law. End Summary.

Bellemare Requests Six More Months
----------------------------------

2. (SBU) During his public briefing, Bellemare asked the
Council to consider extending the mandate of UNIIIC beyond
June 15, 2008, but did not specify for how long. In closed
consultations, however, he asked for a six-month extension
until the end of 2008, but warned that he might come back to
the Council at that point and request even more time. He
emphasized throughout his briefing that the "search for
justice must follow its course and cannot be rushed." The
Commission's work must not be seen as "slow," but
"deliberate." As he had in prior bilateral meetings
(reftel), Bellemare also clarified his use of the phrase
"criminal network" to describe those who killed Rafiq Hariri.
He noted that the report refers to terrorism repeatedly,
that his use of the word "criminal" must be seen in that
context, and that UNIIIC's analysis of the political nature
of the crime had not changed. In terms of the transition
from UNIIIC to STL, Bellemare repeated his argument that the
time between the Prosecutor's assumption of his duties and
the filing of indictments should be minimized, to manage
public expectations for the work of the STL.

Most UNSC Members Support UNIIIC Extension
------------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Most Council members expressed a willingness to
respond positively to Bellemare's request that UNIIIC's
mandate be extended for six months. Russia said it was
prepared to consider extending UNIIIC's mandate, but
reiterated its position that the Commissioner and Prosecutor
must not function in parallel, and argued that UNIIIC's
investigation should be completed before the STL begins
functioning. Indonesia said it stands ready to discuss a
UNIIIC extension constructively with other members. Libya
argued that UNIIIC should try as hard as possible to complete
its work by June 15, 2008, so that the STL could begin
functioning soon. Further delay in seeing the results of
UNIIIC's investigation could perpetuate and inflame Lebanon's
political crisis, Libya argued. (Note: After the
consultations, Libyan diplomats told USUN they acknowledged
the validity of Bellemare's need for additional time and said
they would not oppose his request for an extension of the
mandate, assuming the Lebanese support it. End Note.)

Concerns About Politicization
-----------------------------

4. (SBU) Several delegations praised Bellemare's insistence
on adhering to the highest international legal standards and
warned against any politicization in the work of UNIIIC or
the STL. Russia welcomed Bellemare's intention to reveal the
names of his suspects only in indictments submitted to the
STL. Panama praised Bellemare for resisting pressure to wind
down his investigation prematurely. Indonesia and South
Africa expressed concern about the burdens placed on UNIIIC
by the technical assistance requests into the other 20

USUN NEW Y 00000329 002 OF 002


attacks, but Bellemare assured them that UNIIIC's priority
remains the Hariri investigation, and that these other
investigations have helped shed light on that crime. Libya
beseeched Bellemare to reveal the names of those countries
that have cooperated with UNIIIC, to "add transparency and
effectiveness to UNIIIC's work," as well as to reveal which
countries have provided late responses to the Commission's
requests for assistance. Bellemare refused on the grounds
that revealing such information would prematurely disclose
the results of his investigation by offering hints about his
areas of focus.

Russia Raises Four Generals
---------------------------

5. (SBU) In a departure from past Council practice on UNIIIC
briefings, Russia alone took the floor during the public
briefing to ask Bellemare to address the fate of the four
Lebanese generals detained by the GOL since 2005 on the
recommendation of then-UNIIIC Commissioner Detlev Mehlis, who
suspected them of involvement in the Hariri assassination.
Bellemare replied in the public briefing that the four
generals were detained by the Lebanese authorities based on
Lebanese law. Although he said he had discussed the matter
with the Prosecutor-General of Lebanon, as part of his
ongoing relationship, Bellemare refused to comment on the
nature of these discussions, to protect the confidentiality
of his dialogue with his Lebanese counterparts. During the
closed consultations, South Africa asked Bellemare
specifically whether UNIIIC had discussed the case of the
four generals with the GOL, and suggested that he address
this issue in his next report to the Council. Bellemare
replied that UNIIIC continues to discuss all cases, including
those of the four generals, with the Lebanese, and said he
took note of South Africa,s request to raise the issue at a
later date.
Khalilzad

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