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Cablegate: Icty - Tribunal Officials Highlight Concerns About

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

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 THE HAGUE 002793

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR S/WCI - PROSPER/RICHARD, EUR - STEPHENS,
EUR/SCE - GAUDIOSI/GREGORIAN/MITCHELL, L/EUR - LAHNE, L/AF
- GTAFT. INR/WCAD - SEIDENSTRICKER/MORIN; USUN FOR
ROSTOW/WI...

SOBEL
",
22285,11/1/2004 17:55,04THEHAGUE2793,"Embassy The Hague",CONFIDENTIAL,,"This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

","C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 THE HAGUE 002793

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR S/WCI - PROSPER/RICHARD, EUR - STEPHENS,
EUR/SCE - GAUDIOSI/GREGORIAN/MITCHELL, L/EUR - LAHNE, L/AF
- GTAFT. INR/WCAD - SEIDENSTRICKER/MORIN; USUN FOR
ROSTOW/WILLSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: FIVE YEARS AFTER ICTY CLOSURE
TAGS: BK HR KAWC NL PHUM PREL SR ICTY
SUBJECT: ICTY - TRIBUNAL OFFICIALS HIGHLIGHT CONCERNS ABOUT
SERB NONCOOPERATION AND BUDGET FREEZE IN MEETINGS WITH
S/WCI AMBASSADOR PROSPER AND EUR STEPHENS


Classified By: Clifton M. Johnson, Legal Counselor, Reason 1.5(b)-(d).

1. (C) Summary. In a series of meetings on September 28 at
the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
(ICTY), President Meron, Chief Prosecutor Del Ponte, and
Registrar Holthuis struck consistent themes with
Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues Pierre Prosper and
EUR DAS for Southeast Europe Kathy Stephens. All ICTY
officials lamented the continued lack of cooperation with
Serbia and Montenegro on fugitives and welcomed the USG,s
renewed tough message to Belgrade. ICTY officials were
similarly receptive to efforts by the USG to coordinate a
similar policy line with the Europeans, linking the EU
accession process with progress on cooperation. While
describing efforts to facilitate the transfer of cases to the
region, ICTY officials underscored their deep concern about
the continuing hiring freeze imposed on the Tribunal by the
UN and noted its significant negative impact on the ICTY,s
ability to meet completion strategy goals. End summary.
-------------------
The Prosecution
-------------------
2. (C) Ambassador Prosper joined by EUR DAS Stephens,
EUR/SCE officer Jennifer Mitchell and Embassy legal officers,
opened their visit by meeting with Chief Prosecutor Carla Del
Ponte and her senior staff. Prosper and Stephens expressed
deep concern with the lack of cooperation by Belgrade and
stressed the need to reevaluate current policy in the region
in order to increase pressure and incentives on Belgrade to
cooperate with the ICTY. Del Ponte welcomed this objective
but expressed concern that earlier USG remarks about the
possibility of transferring the four generals to Serbia for
trial were premature, being used as a pretext by Belgrade to
cease all efforts to bring about the transfer of fugitives
below the Mladic level, and, more generally, encouraging
Serb officials and fugitives to try to wait out the ICTY,s
completion. Prosper explained that Belgrade had been given
an opportunity to produce results and that the policy of
showing an openness to support transfers back to the region
for domestic trail ""hasn,t worked to date."" What is needed,
he said, is a stronger message to ""make clear in the region
that noncooperation will result in extending the life of the
Tribunal."" Del Ponte and her staff supported the idea of a
firmer message but advised that the USG should avoid stating
specific requirements of cooperation because SAM would
respond by only meeting those requirements, and then only to
draw out the process of cooperation on those few things.
Senior political adviser Jean-Daniel Ruch urged that the
message should be, ""you know what to do, start doing it.""

3. (C) Ruch said that he would urge his contacts in Brussels,
on the staff of Javier Solana and Chris Patten, to reinforce
the tough message on Belgrade,s cooperation. He pointed out
that in June 2004, the EU had stated that as long as Mladic,
Karadzic, and Gotovina remained at large, the Tribunal should
not close its doors. Del Ponte welcomed Stephens,s focus on
coordinating a tough message with the EU as ""extremely
important"" and said she supported a unified message of the
sort announced by the EU ministers and endorsed by Ambassador
Prosper. Note. On October 4, Del Ponte met with Solana and
urged him to deliver a stiff message to SAM on the need to
cooperate fully in order for their to be progress on EU
accession issues. End note.

4. (C) Speaking to OTP,s overall frustration with Serb
noncooperation, Del Ponte reported that, according to a
conversation she had with the chairman of the National
Council for Cooperation with the ICTY, Rasim Ljajic,
""Kostunica believes the United States only wants Mladic and
that is the reason they are not arresting the others."" Chief
of Investigations Patrick Lopez-Terres cited RS police
sources who complain that the Belgrade police are not helping
them. But he also expressed concern about the ""complete radio
silence"" with respect to search operations conducted by Serb
authorities and the lack of feedback with respect to fugitive
information passed by the ICTY. Increasingly, he said, his
office cannot track Belgrade,s work on fugitives.
------------
The Court
------------
5. (SBU) President Theodor Meron, joined by chief of staff
Larry Johnson, focused on the ICTY,s budget crisis, which he
called a ""real plague"" on the Tribunal. Meron noted that the
main result of the crisis is the hiring freeze. It has
affected all of the Tribunal,s main activities, from
judicial decisionmaking (although the Chambers received
permission to fill nine vital clerkship positions, new
vacancies have since arisen) to OTP investigations and
prosecutions (OTP is hemorrhaging senior investigators and
prosecutors to places like the Oil For Food investigation and
the International Criminal Court and is unable to fill the
vacancies) to transitioning cases to the region (OTP cannot
staff a new transition team to facilitate the transfer of
cases to the region until it can fill vacancies). Meron
urged the USG to provide its assessed contribution as soon as
possible in order to convince U/SYG Bertini to lift the
freeze. Meron was pleased to learn that the United States
expected to make a 13 million USD contribution by early
October and that another 10 million USD would follow this
autumn. (Note. Post understands that both Russia and Japan,
the other major contributors in arrears have now paid all or
most of their outstanding balances. The US paid $14.3
million in October and expects to pay the remaining balance
of $8.8 million shortly. End note.)

6. (C) Meron expressed concern that the BiH State
Prosecutor's Special Department for Organized Crime and
Corruption has complicated the process of creating the war
crimes chamber in Sarajevo by issuing a war crimes indictment
before the chamber has been established, thereby sending
mixed signals regarding the readiness of BiH to adjudicate
domestic war crimes cases . Prosper and Meron agreed that
cooperation from local governments is a critical dimension in
the success of the 11bis trials referred to the local courts.
Meron said that the Tribunal must be ""very careful"" about
the transfer of detainees who might be considered
senior-level, not only because of the Security Council
expectation that such persons would be tried in The Hague but
also because of the signals that could send to senior-level
fugitives. Meron also expressed a willingness to work with
the USG in particular on urging Belgrade to develop domestic
capacity to prosecute war crimes, noting that he had good
relations with the local SAM Ambassador and other SAM
officials.
---------------
The Registry
----------------
7. (SBU) Registrar Hans Holthuis echoed Meron in focusing on
the hiring freeze, which has forced the Tribunal to maintain
a fifteen (15) percent staff vacancy rate, well above the
normal 3 to 4 percent rate. This includes positions lost to
normal attrition that remain unfilled. Prosper indicated
that he would follow-up with USUN and the UN leadership in an
effort to lift the hiring freeze, at least to fill vacancies
due to normal attrition.

8. (SBU) Holthuis described various initiatives under way to
enhance Tribunal efficiency and further progress towards
completion. He said that the Registry is examining ways in
which to schedule more than the present six trials in its
three courtrooms, noting that it might be possible to
schedule contempt hearings and other short proceedings during
gaps in the major trials. Holthuis also reviewed outreach
and training efforts underway in Croatia, SAM, and BiH to
help build up local trial capacity.

9. (C) Comment: The budget crisis is severely testing the
OTP,s capacity to carry out its remaining pre-indictment
investigations and the Tribunal,s capacity overall to
continue with its six-trial maximum schedule. A quick
lifting of the hiring freeze is essential not only to permit
the Tribunal to complete its work on time but also for it
advance the transfer of cases involving mid and lower level
perpetrators back to the region for trial. All ICTY leaders
are focused on the capacity of jurisdictions in the region to
prosecute war crimes cases at a level that meets
international standards. OTP and Chambers are particularly
focused on the capacity of the Sarajevo war crimes chamber to
handle 11bis cases as early as this January, since this
constitutes by far the largest category of cases eligible to
be transferred. OTP has also begun testing Belgrade,s
capacity to conduct effective and fair war crimes trials by
providing the special war crimes court there with complete
investigative files in two cases. If these cases go well,
the Tribunal is prepared to add others in the pipeline. ICTY
and USG officials shared the sense that cooperation with
Belgrade is at a crossroads. The promising start of domestic
war crimes trials points a clear way towards the future, but
that opportunity as well as progress towards European
integration will be squandered if political levels fail to
produce the long overdue results with respect to fugitives.
End comment.

10 (U) This cable has been cleared by S/WCI Prosper and EUR
Stephens.

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