Cablegate: Ambassador Rapp Discusses Court for Sierra Leone
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P 081540Z JAN 10 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9887
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHJB/AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA PRIORITY 0054
RUEHFN/AMEMBASSY FREETOWN PRIORITY 0337
RUEHLGB/AMEMBASSY KIGALI PRIORITY 0450
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA PRIORITY 0569
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRUSSELS 000023
STATE PASS S/WCI RAPP AND ANDERSON, AF/C, AND EUR/WE
EO 12958 DECL: 12/22/2019
TAGS PREL, PGOV, CG, BY, RW, SL, BE
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR RAPP DISCUSSES COURT FOR SIERRA LEONE
AND THE DRC WITH BELGIAN MFA
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Classiires Richard M. Eason for` (D).
1. (C) Summar Ambassador Stephen J. Rap Belgium would continue to push for the ICC’s independent Quthority to initiate trials of crimes of aggression between states. End Summary.
MFA Optimistic on Court for S)erra Leone Donation
2. (C) The AfricQ team of Director General Renier Nijskens, C/ngo Desk Officer Hugues Chantry, and Foreign MiQister Vanackere’s Africa Advisor Karl D’haene met with S/WCI Ambassador Rapp, S/WCI Specia, Assistant Todd Anderson and Poloff Aaron Jensen on December 18. Representatives of the MFA Legal and Peace Building departments were also present. D’haene said he was optimistic that Belgium would make an additional EUR 150,000 contribution to the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He noted Belgium’s history of supporting international justice processes and posited that Belgium’s new FM Vanackere would continue that policy; the expected closure of the Special Court in 2011 after Charles Taylor’s trial made a contribution more likely in his view.
Belgium Interested in DRC Judicial Reform
3. (C) The MFA Africa team was interested in the concept of chambers of mixed composition to deal with war crimes in the DRC raised by Ambassador Rapp. They mentioned Belgium’s participation in REJUSCO, the EU justice mission in Congo, and Belgian Technical Cooperation’s work on REJUSCO Phase I. They were uncertain who would implement Phase II. They focused on the importance of improving the national justice system, rather than simply building up capacity in the eastern DRC. D’haene was noncommittal on Belgian support for new judicial court structures in the DRC, but said that the GOB would support UNR 1888 (Resolution on Women, Peace, and Security, which includes judicial aspects) and provide expertise to the extent that Belgium had it. He added that sending judges to the DRC would not be too difficult, but questioned whether a larger approach to judicial reform that included two court formats would work in the DRC.
Belgium and the ICC
4. (C) Ambassador Rapp told Legal Department DG Rietjens that the U.S. was proud to regain its observer status at the ICC and said that the U.S. was currently producing a review of its ICC policy. He noted, however, that U.S. ratification of the ICC treaty was not likely. Ambassador Rapp underscored that the U.S. believed only the UNSC should be able to refer cases of crimes of aggression to the ICC and was confident that other UNSC members, including the European members of the P5, France and the UK, would agree. He said the U.S. hoped for consensus in this discussion, and he expressed understanding for Belgian, German, and Greek efforts to push for a broader ICC mandate on crimes of aggression. Rientjens acknowledged U.S. concerns on crimes of aggression, but said that Belgium would continue to push for the ICC to have an independent authority to initiate trials on crimes of
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aggression. Rietjens praised the U.S. return to observer status at the ICC. He said Belgium and other European nations were excited to be able to have diplomatic discussions with the U.S. about the ICC once again.
5. (U) Ambassador Rapp cleared this message.