Cablegate: Lebanon: Determined Uniiic Commissioner Making
PP RUEHAG RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHLB #0996/01 1911600
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 091600Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2435
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2588
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 2875
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIRUT 000996
DEPT FOR NEA/FO, NEA/ELA
ALSO FOR IO A/S SILVERBERG AND PDAS WARLICK
USUN FOR KHALILZAD/WOLFF/KUMAR/PHEE
NSC FOR ABRAMS/SINGH/YERGER/GAVITO
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/08/2018
TAGS: KJUS PGOV PINR PREL PTER UNSC FR GB LE
SUBJECT: LEBANON: DETERMINED UNIIIC COMMISSIONER MAKING
Classified By: CDA William Grant for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (S) UNIIIC Commissioner Daniel Bellemare told emboffs on
July 9 that he sees no wavering of French support for UNIIIC
and the Special Tribunal, asked for USG support in the
Special Tribunal Management Committee and positive USG
responses to his requests for assistance. Ever the careful
prosecutor, he exuded confidence and determination, but was
tight-lipped about certain subjects.
2. (C) Acknowledging that UNIIIC is handling cases that are
currently under Lebanese jurisdiction, Bellemare lamented
that he cannot trust many government officials, particularly
those in the security services. He noted that the recent
lawsuit filed by Saad Hariri against the four detained
generals may raise questions about access to UNIIIC evidence.
Bellemare plans to launch a communications campaign in the
fall that will aim to entice those with knowledge about the
attacks to step forward. End summary.
FRENCH ARE "120 PERCENT"
3. (C) The CDA, accompanied by LegAtt and PolOff, met with
UNIIIC Commissioner Daniel Bellemare at the UNIIIC
headquarters in Monteverde on July 9. Asked about his recent
trip to Paris, Bellemare refrained from providing details,
but assured the CDA that French support for UNIIIC and the
Special Tribunal is unwavering, adding that he felt French
officials were "120 percent" behind him. Even if it were
otherwise, he said, he is moving ahead and the only entity
which can stop him is the UN Security Council.
4. (S) France is unable to provide the kind of assistance he
is getting from the U.S. DOJ and UK Scotland Yard because the
most experienced French investigators are not fluent in
English, he said. Instead, he continued, France will be
providing other kinds of assistance.
MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE MUST
"GET OUT OF THE TRENCHES"
5. (C) Noting that he will be traveling to New York next
week, July 14-16, Bellemare expressed again the concern that
the Tribunal Management Committee within the UN may be too
restrictive on what he will need when be becomes Tribunal
prosecutor. He relayed that the committee had met the
previous day, and that he found the flexibility it had shown
to be more positive than prior meetings.
6. (C) The committee would next meet on July 21, according to
Bellemare. He said there was no decision yet on staffing for
the Special Tribunal, and that this concerned him. He wants
some flexibility to decide on the number of positions at
different ranks, so long as he stays within the overall
parameters for staffing. "The committee must get out of the
trenches," he complained, adding, "These matters should not
hijack the entire Tribunal process".
7. (C) Commenting that he heard some "individuals" who might
be subjects of the Tribunal have already enlisted top-notch
British lawyers in anticipation of indictments, Bellemare
said that this gives him all the more reason to push the
Management Committee to be more flexible. "I need a dream
team to counter the dream team hired by them. We are
preparing for war".
8. (C) While in New York July 14-16, Bellemare said he hoped
to meet Ambassador Khalilzad to update him on how member
states' cooperation is going and to hear his assessment of
the Management Committee's progress. Bellemare said it is
important to have the support of Khalilzad for his efforts.
9. (S) Bellemare had high praise for Paul Coffey, the DOJ
investigator who recently joined his staff, seconded by the
USG. He told us he still needed criminal analysts.
10. (S) CDA asked about the status of the investigation.
Bellemare confided that for certain lines of the
investigation, he had reached the limit of what could be done
through research and now hopes to employ wire-tapping on
telephone land lines. Within Lebanon, authority for
wiretapping is with the Lebanese Armed Forces G-2 (LAF
military intelligence) or the Internal Security Forces (ISF),
and he is concerned about leaks from both organizations.
11. (S) Bellemare explained that there are two phone
companies, one Lebanese-owned, MTC Touch, and the other
Dutch-owned, Alpha. He said some of the wire-tapping work
could be done remotely, but that part of the work required
physical maneuvering. He is willing to test out the
wire-tapping system on less important targets, using the
local company, to see if it is successful. He cautioned that
his proposal was predicated on getting the legal authority
from the GOL.
LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
12. (C) Commenting that his relationship with the Lebanese
Internal Security Force (ISF) has improved over time, he
reported that he meets regularly with a small group of
officers. Regarding his wire-tapping proposal, he suggested
that he may be able to dentify a few trusted ISF officers
who could faclitate its implementation.
SAAD HARIRI'S LAWSUIT
MAY BE UNHELPFUL
13. (C) This week, Saad Hariri sued the four generals
detained for alleged involvement in the assassination of his
father. Bellemare noted that this lawsuit could enable Saad
to access certain information to build his case. Bellemare
reported that he had legal analysts looking into the Lebanese
law to see what kind of information access Saad will be
granted. Bellemare said he was not sure how Saad's case
benefits UNIIIC's mission, stating with conviction, "If the
Commission is weakened by this lawsuit, I will have to manage
PLANNING TO LAUNCH
14. (C) Acknowledging that he rarely makes public statements,
Bellemare said that he will have a spokesperson, the same
woman who worked for Nicola Michel, Legal Advisor to the UN
SYG, join him on September 1. He explained that he needed to
create an environment where people in Lebanon believe they
have a responsibility in this process and have trust in the
Special Tribunal institution. "Some people have information
and are keeping quiet," he continued, "They have to decide if
they want to be part of the problem or part of the solution."
He also wants to communicate that those who speak up will be
15. (C) Addressing the complaints frequently heard in Lebanon
that the Commission needs to "produce something", Bellemare
said that there will not be indictments during the life of
the Commission, nor on the day that the Special Tribunal
commences. He spoke of the complicated nature of the
investigation, stressing that he asked for an extension of
the Commission's mandate specifically because there is more
work to be done. Bellemare said he believes Lebanese
political figures who ask for more progress are not really
interested in indictments, but in having made public the
names of those responsible.