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Cablegate: Unga: What Next for War Crimes Tribunals?

VZCZCXRO0773
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHTRO RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUCNDT #0998/01 3052304
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 312304Z OCT 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5234
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBW/AMEMBASSY BELGRADE PRIORITY 0008
RUEHLGB/AMEMBASSY KIGALI PRIORITY 0291

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 000998

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR IO/UNP, S/WCI, EUR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL AORC KWCI RW YI XG RS NO
SUBJECT: UNGA: WHAT NEXT FOR WAR CRIMES TRIBUNALS?

1. Summary: At the annual reports of the International
Criminal Tribunals (ICTs), Western delegations praised the
courts' principles and practices, while the Russians called
for ending the ICTs turning their jurisdiction back over to
national governments. All parties were concerned with the
impending expiration of the ICTs' mandates. Discussing next
steps after the expiration, the quote of the day came from
New Zealand PermRep Rosemary Banks, "Impunity is not an
option." End Summary.

2. Presidents Dennis Byron of the International Criminal
Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and Fausto Pocar of the
International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons
Responsible for Serious Violations of International
Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former
Yugoslavia (ICTY) presented their reports (A/63/209 and
A/63/210, respectively) to the General Assembly in plenary
session on October 13. The ICTR report covers the period
from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008. The ICTY report covers
August 1, 2007 to July 31, 2008.

3. Time is running out: Byron celebrated the peace and
ongoing national reconciliation in Rwanda, and vaunted ICTR's
legacy of factual and impartial judgments. His main worries
were staff retention, continued flight of the remaining
fugitives, and the short time left under the existing UNSC
mandate. Pocar expressed parallel same concerns about losing
staff and fugitives still at large. He commended Serbia for
its cooperation in the arrests of Stojan Zupljanin and
Radovan Kardzic, and called for the immediate arrest of Ratko
Mladic and Goran Hadzic. Pocar expressed concern that the
ICTY will run out of time before the two fugitives are
brought to trial.

4. Europeans leaning toward mandate extension: With the
exception of Russia, all speakers celebrated the arrests of
Zupljanin and Karadzic and praised the achievements of the
tribunals. Norway and Russia were at polar opposites on the
principle of ICTs, with all other speakers closer to Norway's
enthusiasm. French PermRep Jean-Maurice Ripert, on behalf of
the EU, lauded the quantity of work in both tribunals, and
most speakers expressed appreciation for international
cooperation. While the ICT presidents asked for more time to
fulfill their mandates, national speakers (except Norway)
spoke of the need to conclude the tribunals' business. There
was a widespread sense of urgency for the arrest of the
remaining fugitives. The Russians, in particular want to
close the ICTY, but out of opposition to the Tribunal itself,
which they do not support.

5. Ripert recounted the courts' "extremely positive" record,
and their message that "International criminal justice does
exist and it will prevail sooner or later". He commended
Serbia's cooperation, and urged all states to improve their
cooperation with the ICTs. Norway appealed for
follow-through on financial support to the ICTs and
international agreements on sentencing. Rwanda expressed
appreciation for continued EU support.

6. Serbia called for international witness protection,
citing the ICTY report's conclusion that intimidation is
reducing witnesses willingness to testify.

7. Ripert called for the immediate arrest of Mladic, Hadzic,
and Rwandan fugitive Felicien Kabunga. Croatia and all other
speakers (again with the exception of Russia) echoed this
call. Banks, also on behalf of Canada and Australia, called
their arrest "crucial" to concluding the work of the ICTs.

8. Ripert called attention to the ad hoc nature of the ICTs,
which "were not intended to be permanent and will cease to
exist when the Security Council deems...the job...
accomplished." Banks added, "A key focus for both Tribunals
now is the implementation of their completion strategies" and
concluded, "CANZ urges both tribunals to continue to identify
further reforms that will enable them to complete their work
as efficiently and promptly as possible."

9. A fork in the road: The question remains on
post-tribunal justice. Ripert proposed putting the ICTs into
storage once their mandates have expired, "...if there are
still high-ranking fugitives at large upon completion of the
Tribunals, a mechanism must be set up which can rebuild the
capacity to try them once they are arrested." Banks
identified the two main options as transfer to national
jurisdictions or extension of the ICT mandates. "The view of
CANZ is clear - a strategy needs to be devised to ensure that
impunity is not an option". The Rwandan PermRep said his

USUN NEW Y 00000998 002 OF 002


countrymen do not want the conclusion of the ICTR to become
an amnesty.

10. Russia wants to shut down ICTY: The Russian delegation
expressed the only contrarian views, "...the Tribunals were
established by the Security Council in certain historical
circumstances as a temporary measure with the aim of...peace
in the region as well as fight against impunity in a
situation of the failure of the legal systems of appropriate
states....there is a material change in the aforementioned
circumstances and the term set forth for these organs is
elapsing...(the ICTY's) leadership loses sight of the
prescribed parameters of the work of the Tribunal." The
Russians criticized the ICTY report for absence of steps
toward terminating its operations. "More over the point is
maid (sic) that all ICTY indictees should be tried by this
organ and not referred to national jurisdictions. This
policy, in our view, means the demonstration of mistrust to
the national judicial systems of the Balkan States and
contradicts SC resolutions 1503 and 1534...International
criminal courts have only a complementary role, since they
are not capable of replacing national judicial
systems....deadlines set forth by the Completion strategy are
approaching fast."
Khalilzad

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