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Cablegate: Lebanon Tribunal: Management Committee Discusses

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OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBW RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHTRO RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUCNDT #0468/01 1482316
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 272316Z MAY 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4331
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 000468

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PTER UNSC SY LE
SUBJECT: LEBANON TRIBUNAL: MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE DISCUSSES
STAFFING AND FUNDING ISSUES

REF: A. USUN/IO EMAIL (WILCOX/REINEMEYER)-05/27/08
B. USUN 171
C. STATE 1170 (2007)
D. USUN 1185 (2007)
E. USUN 384

1. (SBU) BEGIN SUMMARY: Robin Vincent, Registrar of the
Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), told members of the STL
Management Committee on May 22 that he is finalizing the
initial budget for the STL's first year and hopes the
Committee can approve it by July 11. Vincent estimated the
budget would be USD 52 million, more than half of which will
be devoted to costs for staff and judges, but said those
figures could be reduced depending on how fast the STL fills
posts. Committee members also discussed draft staff
regulations for the STL, continued to consider draft
financial regulations for the STL, and agreed that the
Committee Chairman would inform contributors and other
interested states that the Committee would brief them soon on
its activities. END SUMMARY.

Initial Draft Budget Near Completion
------------------------------------

2. (SBU) STL Register Vincent briefed members on his plans
for submitting the proposed budget for the STL's first
financial year for the Management Committee's approval and
circulated a handout providing details (ref A). Vincent said
his projections reflected his "worst case scenario" and said
he was working to ensure that the figures were as accurate as
possible. Although Vincent did not explicitly say when the
STL's financial year would begin, he predicted that the STL
would begin operating on January 1, 2009.

3. (SBU) Vincent estimated USD 29.9 million in costs for
staff and judges, consistent with the Committee's earlier
decision on staffing (refs B-D), which would form 58 percent
of the draft budget. That figure is in line with comparable
costs of other international tribunals, Vincent said, and
reflects UNIIIC Commissioner and STL Prosecutor-Designate
Daniel Bellemare's request for staffing the Office of the
Prosecutor. Vincent expected that the STL would have 310
staff and judges (109 in the Office of the Prosecutor, nine
in the judges' Chambers, five in the Defense Office, and 187
in the Registry). Although most of the staff of the Office
of the Prosecutor will be in place when the UNIIIC's mandate
expires (assuming the Security Council extends it until
December 31), Vincent expected that recruitment for other
posts would be delayed, depending on external events. If the
STL fills posts more slowly, first-year costs would be
reduced, Vincent said. Vincent also estimated that only two
judges would need to work full-time during the first year.
The budget also reflects USD 13.5 million for the building
construction project and USD 8-9 million for operational
costs, consistent with the Committee's earlier decisions on
the building (ref E).

3. (SBU) To maximize financial flexibility, minimize costs,
and ensure accuracy, Vincent asked the Committee to approve
the budget in two stages. First, Vincent said he hoped the
Committee would approve the initial budget by July 11.
Second, after he and his advance team move to The Hague and
have concrete experience to draw from, Vincent said he would
reassess the budget, particularly the projected operational
costs, and resubmit a revised budget for the Committee's
approval by October 31. Vincent said his two-step approach
aimed to avoid some of the problems experienced by other
international tribunals, which initially presented low budget
estimates that later had to be augmented significantly.

4. (SBU) USUN questioned whether Vincent's two-step process
might confuse donors and make the budgeting process more
cumbersome. Many Committee members welcomed Vincent's
proposal as a pragmatic approach. Committee members also
said they would be willing to meet with Daniel Bellemare in
early June, as he has requested, so Bellemare can justify his
staffing requests.

Draft Financial Regulations Near Completion
-------------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Committee members commented on a revised draft of
the financial regulations and rules for the STL, which
incorporated new language from the UN Comptroller-General. A
revised draft will be prepared and circulated to the
Committee soon for final approval. Most of the discussion
focused on language in the draft concerning audits of the
STL's accounts and how best to provide for audits by the
Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS). Vincent said

USUN NEW Y 00000468 002 OF 002


he had discussed the issue with the OIOS's chief auditor, who
did not object in principle provided the STL reimbursed the
OIOS for its services. The draft regulations will be revised
to reflect the possibility that OIOS will provide audits.

Staff Regulations Considered
----------------------------

6. (SBU) Committee members also commented on the draft staff
regulations for the STL, which the Secretariat prepared using
the UN Staff Regulations and Rules as a model. USUN
questioned whether a provision to allow the Management
Committee to supplement or amend the regulations without
prejudice to staff members' acquired rights should be amended
to refer instead to "vested rights" or the principle of the
prohibition of retroactivity. UN Assistant Secretary-General
Larry Johnson expressed concern that departing from the
language in the UN Staff Regulations and Rules might
interfere with the STL's application to join the UN Joint
Staff Pension Fund and said he would refer that suggestion to
the UN lawyers who drafted the regulations.

7. (SBU) The Committee meets again on May 29.
Wolff

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