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Viewing cable 04THEHAGUE2793, ICTY - TRIBUNAL OFFICIALS HIGHLIGHT CONCERNS ABOUT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
04THEHAGUE2793 2004-11-01 17:05 2011-01-17 19:07 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy The Hague
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.