Cablegate: Icty: Tribunal Seeks Usg Assistance In

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A


Sensitive But Unclassified - Treat Accordingly

1. (SBU) Summary: The Chief Prosecutor and Registrar of the
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
(ICTY) urged Ambassador for War Crimes Issues Pierre Prosper
to weigh in with UN Headquarters to help solve two emerging
budget and personnel crises that were posing a significant
risk to the completion strategy. The first involves the
rapid attrition of ICTY investigators to the International
Criminal Court (ICC) and elsewhere because the UN has not
authorized the Tribunal to offer them contracts beyond
December 31, 2004. The second involves the UN's imposition
of a hiring freeze on the ICTY, which is based upon the
current fiscal year shortfall due to significant member state
arrears. The Tribunal warns that the crisis could impact
Completion Strategy targets and requests that the USG
approach the UN Secretariat (in particular Under-Secretary
General Bertini) to seek exceptions to lift the freeze and to
allow contract extensions beyond the end of the year. End

2. (SBU) In separate meetings with visiting Ambassador Pierre
Prosper, accompanied by embassy legal officers, Chief
Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte and Registrar Hans Holthuis
emphasized two serious problems, flagged in the ICTY's
Security Council reports last month (reftels), that are
working against their implementation of the completion
strategy. First, the OTP's Investigations Division is losing
its most experienced and skilled personnel to the ICC and
other institutions due to the inability of the Tribunal to
offer contracts to staff after December 31, 2004. Although
the completion strategy provides for all indictments to be
issued by the end of 2004, both the OTP and the Registry
emphasized that this does not mark the end of investigations.
As in the ongoing Milosevic case, the efficient running of
trials requires the maintenance of significant investigative
capacity. Departures from the Division are hastened both by
the approaching school year (forcing those with families to
make decisions on the future now) and by the needs of the
International Criminal Court (ICC) for experienced
investigators and the ICC's ability to offer greater job
security. As Del Ponte noted, "(ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno)
Ocampo is hiring our people away." Deputy Registrar David
Tolbert indicated that the ICTY is expecting "massive
attrition soon" because of the inability to renew contracts
beyond the end of 2004.

3. (SBU) Tolbert also shared (for USG use only) a June 26,
2004, Registry proposal made to UN Controller Halbwachs
addressing the contract extension issue. In it Tribunal
Registrar Holthuis notes that the OTP confirmed its proposal
of significant staff reductions as of January 1, 2005 -- 66
posts will be eliminated, leaving a total OTP staff of 149
posts. The proposal requests authorization to extend for one
year 75 percent of the 149 posts. As it stands, the UN has
not approved any extensions because the investigative budget
has yet to be approved. Such approval is not expected until
late fall, by which point the damage in terms of staff
departures will already have occurred. The Tribunal has yet
to receive a response from UN to its request for an

4. (SBU) The second pressing need of the Tribunal relates to
the current hiring freeze. Significant member state arrears
to the organization have prompted UN headquarters to imposing
a hiring freeze on the ICTY. The freeze has made it
impossible to manage attrition, fill critical positions, and
to plan an efficient trial schedule. The Chief of Staff to
ICTY President Theodor Meron stated that in a joint Fifth and
Sixth Committee briefing held by Meron at the UN last week,
Japan spoke of its willingness to provide the ICTY with $4.5
million and Brazil offered $2 million. Given the possibility
that the USG may soon be in a position to make a similar
commitment, the original budgetary purpose for the freeze may
have disappeared. (Comment: In an aside, Del Ponte political
advisor Jean-Daniel Ruch noted that in a brief visit to the
Russian UN mission it became evident that the payment of
their arrears was only a remote possibility. End Comment)
Though Meron was recently granted an exception to the
recruitment freeze for nine associate legal officer posts
(P-2 law clerks for the Tribunal judges), the generalized
inability to replace departing staff has depleted the
capacity of the Tribunal to continue functioning at its "peak
of activity."
5. (SBU) Comment: The forcefulness, persistence, and
unanimity of the concerns expressed by the OTP and the
Registry confirm our sense that without redress the ICTY's
ongoing budget problems will have a debilitating and lasting
impact on their ability to meet completion strategy
objectives. Registrar Holthuis asked that, to the extent it
would be appropriate, the USG urge UN Under-Secretary General
Bertini to accede quickly to the ICTY's requests for contract
extensions beyond the end of this year (the ICTY's number one
budget priority) and for a lifting of the hiring freeze.
Because the departure of investigative staff is accelerating,
it is essential that the contract extension restriction be
addressed first and on an urgent basis. The ICTY recognizes
that with the end of 2004 it will need to downsize its
investigative staff, and it is prepared to do so in a
substantial way. But unless it is given authority to extend
contracts past 2004 to the investigative staff that it will
be retaining, the issue will be less reducing the OTP's staff
than it will be finding qualified personnel to fill the
burgeoning vacancies. Particularly in light of the USG's
commitment to the completion strategy, Embassy supports such
an approach. Ambassador Prosper has reviewed this message
and concurs with the recommendation that the USG deliver the
requested demarche to the UN. End comment.

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