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Cablegate: Zagreb Weekly Activity Report - June 13, 2008

VZCZCXRO1166
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHVB #0445 1691035
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 171035Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8398
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000445

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR EUR/SCE, EUR/PPD, EUR/RPM AND EUR/ERA
OSD FOR POPOVICH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV HR
SUBJECT: ZAGREB WEEKLY ACTIVITY REPORT - JUNE 13, 2008

1. (U) IN ABSENTIA WAR CRIMES CONVICTION "UPHELD":
This week the Split County Court sentenced former Serb police
commander Mitar Arambasic to 20 years imprisonment for war
crimes. Arambasic, who was extradited from the U.S. in 2006,
was retried by the same judge who had convicted him in
absentia (along with 38 others) in 1997. Arambasic was found
guilty of committing crimes against Croatian prisoners while
serving as police commander in the village of Otisic, near
Knin, between 1991 and 1995. Announcing its verdict, the
Court indicated that it "upheld" the prior charges and 20
year sentence - the maximum under the law. The judge
explained that since a verdict had previously been reached
the burden of proof was on the defendant, requiring him to
present evidence to establish his innocence. While a written
verdict has not yet been issued, OSCE monitors are concerned
that the Court's explanation calls into question an
individual's right to a retrial following an in absentia
conviction and his right to a fair trial. Arambasic
reportedly emigrated to the U.S. in 2000 and was detained in
South Dakota two years later. In January 2006, he was
extradited to Croatia where he had been awaiting a re-trial
since March 2007. (KSelinger)

2. (SBU) U.S. RADAR EXPERTS EVALUATE CROATIAN SYSTEM:
At the invitation of the Croatian Navy, U.S. Navy Europe sent
a team of three U.S. Navy radar experts to visit Croatian
Navy headquarters in Split, and the coastal surveillance
radar station on Lastovo Island, for the purpose of
evaluating the Croatian Navy's Enhanced Peregrine radar
system. Escorted by the Embassy's Naval Attache, the team
visited Croatia from 9 through 12 June, 2008. They evaluated
the Enhanced Peregrine radar system, which has been
problematic since its original installation by a U.S.
contractor, examining the Croatian Navy's operation and
maintenance of the system, and the system's current status
relative to specifications taken from the system technical
manuals. The team provided initial feedback to Croatian Navy
leadership and will follow-up with a detailed written
evaluation. The initial feedback included recommendations
for immediate operational and maintenance procedural changes
that should lead to improved radar system reliability.
(BMosenfelder)

3. (U) CROATIA HOSTS UNSCR 1540 WORKSHOP:
Croatia, in partnership with the government of Romania and
NATO, hosted the "UNSCR 1540 - A Path for Further
Implementation" workshop at RACVIAC 5-6 June 2008.
Participants shared their thoughts on the roles and
responsibilities of individual states and international
organizations in implementing efforts to combat proliferation
of weapons of mass destruction outlined in UNSCR 1540,
emphasizing national responsibility. Much of the discussion
focused on best practices in the areas of implementation
planning, legal frameworks, and export and border controls.
William Puttmann, from NATO's WMD Center, shared his thoughts
on NATO's role in supporting UNSCR 1540, while
representatives from the U.S. Department of State discussed
coordinating inter-agency assistance programs and USG
technical assistance relative to UNSCR 1540. The workshop
drew representatives from a variety of countries and
international organizations including Croatia, Romania,
Turkey, France, Bulgaria, Norway, Greece, Serbia, Czech
Republic, Macedonia, the IAEA and the UN. (CRhoton)

4. (U) NATO REPRESENTATIVES VISIT CROATIA:
On June 6, Ministry of Foreign Affairs State Secretary Bianca
Matkovic, who also heads Croatia's delegation in NATO
accession negotiations, received representatives of the
NATO's Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council team visiting
Croatia. The meeting was held as part of preparing the
timetable of reforms that the country will undergo during its
accession to NATO. Matkovic mentioned Croatia's efforts in
reforming the judiciary, fighting corruption and providing
housing for returning refugees. In the meeting, it was
confirmed that the Protocol on Croatia's accession to NATO
would be signed by the North Atlantic Council on July 9,
2008. (ZTomic)
Bradtke

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