Cablegate: Icty: Registry Seeks Agreements On Sentencing

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

291515Z Jul 04




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Summary: In a July 28 meeting with Ambassador Sobel,
Hans Holthuis, the Registrar of the International Criminal
Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), sought USG
assistance with respect to the enforcement of sentences and
the relocation of witnesses. Holthuis specifically requested
that the USG consider negotiating a sentencing enforcement
agreement with the ICTY, under which the United States would
agree to let ICTY-convicted individuals serve their sentences
in U.S. prisons. He also asked whether the United States
might be in a position to consider an agreement for the
relocation of witnesses, though he acknowledged that the
current ad hoc approach has proven capable of meeting ICTY
needs. End Summary

2. (SBU) As the ICTY looks ahead to the conclusion of its
trials and appeals (2008 and 2010 respectively), it is
reaching out to governments for assistance in two key areas:
enforcing sentences and relocating witnesses. Registrar Hans
Holthuis has been visiting other Embassies in The Hague and
has received "positive" indications from several new European
Union states (including the Baltics, Hungary and Slovenia)
that they may consider entering into agreements on both

3. (SBU) The Registrar's request for sentencing enforcement
assistance stems from the increase in sentencing judgments
issued by the Tribunal, and the projected further escalation
in such judgments as the ICTY moves toward 2010 (the target
date for the conclusion of all appeals under the completion
strategy). The Scheveningen prison, in which fifty-nine ICTY
indictees are detained pending trial, appeal or final
sentencing judgment, is neither designed nor permitted to be
a permanent holding facility for the service of sentences.
Thus, the ICTY looks to governments to make their prisons
available to hold convicted indictees. In all but one case,
the ICTY arranges such transfers in accordance with
agreements reached with states. The prisoner transfers are
conducted under the auspices of the ICTY, and the detention
of convicts is under host state laws and regulations. At
present the Tribunal has sentencing enforcement agreements
with Denmark, Spain, France, Sweden, Austria, Norway,
Finland, Italy and the United Kingdom, and one exchange of
letters permitting ad hoc transfers with Germany.

4. (SBU) ICTY informs us that the following states have
enforced or are currently enforcing sentences of the Tribunal:

State Number/Identity of Convicts
------ ---------------------------
Austria 2/Dosen, Sikirica
Finland 4/Aleksovski, Furundzija, Delic, Landzo
Germany 2/Tadic, Kunarac
Italy 1/Jelisic
Norway 3/Erdemovic, Kovac, Vulkovic
Spain 3/Todorovic, Josipovic, Santic
Sweden 1/Plavsic

France is due to accept its first prisoner transfer shortly.
Embassy also understands that the UK may accept a prisoner
soon. Two further convicts were released directly from the
Tribunal, having served their sentences under ICTY detention:
Kolundzija, Simic. A further indictee, Tihomir Blaskic, may
be released directly from the ICTY soon, since his 45 year
sentence was reduced today to nine years, most of which he
has already served as a detainee in Scheveningen.

5. (SBU) Though based on a model enforcement agreement, some
agreements reflect specific state requirements. For
instance, Germany's lack of assent to a formal agreement has
kept its cooperation efforts ad hoc. (Comment: According to
Holthuis, this ad hoc system is redundant as potential host
States can always deny a request from the Tribunal to house
convicts. End Comment). Notably, the Spanish agreement
differs regarding the monitoring of the facilities in which
transferred convicts are held. According to the model
agreement, host States allow the International Committee for
the Red Cross (ICRC) to inspect its prison facilities "at any
time," with the frequency of the visits determined by ICRC.
Spain modified this requirement, agreeing to set up a four
member "Parity Commission" in which two members of the
Tribunal and two members of the Spanish government work
together in inspecting facilities at specified intervals.
6. (SBU) Witness relocation, usually provided for witnesses
whose testimony endangers their safety, has been arranged on
a few occasions by the USG on an ad hoc basis. Given the
nature of threats, these offers have included not just
witnesses, but also their families. The USG has used both
protected witness status and refugee status as a mode of
entry into the country. Though this has only been provided
in a few cases, Embassy is currently working with the
Department on possibly relocating the family of a particular
witness (reftel).

7. (SBU) Comment: The ICTY requires additional agreements in
order to meet the increasing number of indictees convicted.
Similarly, the increased number of trials means an increase
in the number of witnesses who may need relocation. In both
situations, ad hoc approaches are less efficient and less
effective than a framework agreement approach. That said,
both requests raise special issues involving legal capacity
and financial and bureaucratic support. Embassy believes
that both of the Registrar's requests deserve careful
consideration. End Comment.

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