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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03ZAGREB790 2003-04-09 16:01:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Zagreb
Cable title:  

ASSISTING CROATIA TO STRENGTHEN DOMESTIC WAR

Tags:   KAWC KJUS PREL EAID HR UNSC ICTY 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ZAGREB 000790 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR S/WCI, EUR/SCE, INL/AAE, EUR/ACE, AND DRL
JUSTICE FOR OPDAT AND ICITAP
SARAJEVO FOR KONTOS AND TILMAN
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ZAGREB 00790 01 OF 03 091557Z
BELGRADE FOR BROWN
THE HAGUE FOR JOHNSON/KAYE/WHEATON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/09/2013
TAGS: KAWC KJUS PREL EAID KJUS PREL EAID KJUS PREL EAID HR HRKAWC UNSC ICTY
SUBJECT: ASSISTING CROATIA TO STRENGTHEN DOMESTIC WAR
CRIMES PROSECUTIONS: RECOMMENDED WAY AHEAD

REF: A. ZAGREB 761


B. ZAGREB 756

C. ZAGREB 680

D. 02 ZAGREB 2853

E. MJANIS - RSILBERSTEIN 4/4 EMAIL

F. 02 ZAGREB 1721

CLASSIFIED BY: POLOFF ROBERT SILBERSTEIN, REASON 1.5 (B) AND (D)

SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATION
---------------------------



1. (C) MINISTER OF JUSTICE ANTICEVIC-MARINOVIC TOLD US ON
APRIL 2 THAT THE GOC IS COMMITTED TO PASSING QUICKLY
LEGISLATION THAT WOULD IMPROVE THE ABILITY OF CROATIAN COURTS
TO PROCESS WAR CRIMES. NOTWITHSTANDING THE MINISTER'S
ASSURANCES, OTHER KEY PLAYERS -- INCLUDING THE DRAFTER OF THE
MOST CURRENT VERSION OF THE DOMESTIC WAR CRIMES LEGISLATION
-- WERE SKEPTICAL THAT A WAR CRIMES BILL WOULD SEE THE LIGHT
OF DAY SOON. THEY TOLD US THE GOC, IN AN ELECTION YEAR, IS
TOO SKITTISH TO ACT IN THE FACE OF OPPOSITION FROM THE
RIGHT-WING AND FROM JUDGES (ONE OF CROATIA'S MOST
REFORM-RESISTANT GUILDS).
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 ZAGREB 00790 01 OF 03 091557Z



2. (C) AS WE HAVE REPORTED (REFS C AND D), WITHOUT A
STRENGTHENED LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK AND STRONG POLITICAL
SUPPORT, CROATIA'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IS LARGELY
INCAPABLE OF PROSECUTING WAR CRIMES FAIRLY AND EFFECTIVELY.
THE BOTTOM LINE FOR US IS THAT WITHOUT THE FRAMEWORK THAT NEW
LEGISLATION WOULD PROVIDE, THE USD TWO MILLION IN REGIONAL
SEED ASSISTANCE THAT THE DEPARTMENT HAS IDENTIFIED FOR A
CROATIA WAR CRIMES PROJECT COULD NOT BE USED EFFICIENTLY.



3. (C) THE TIME IS NOT RIPE FOR A VISIT OF A LARGE TECHNICAL
TEAM OF EXPERTS TO ZAGREB TO DEVELOP A WAR CRIMES ACTION PLAN
FOR THE SEED FUNDING: THE TEAM HAS NO CONCRETE BASIS ON
WHICH TO WORK. HOWEVER, A RETURN VISIT OF S/WCI AMBASSADOR
PROSPER TO ZAGREB IN EARLY- TO MID-MAY COULD HELP PRESS THE
GOC TO MOVE FORWARD WITH DOMESTIC WAR CRIMES LEGISLATION AND
ADVANCE OUR BROADER ICTY COMPLETION STRATEGY. SUCH A VISIT
WOULD BE PARTICULARLY TIMELY NOW THAT THE GOC HAS TAKEN
POSITIVE STEPS TO CORRECT THE COURSE OF ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH
THE ICTY TRIBUNAL (REFS A AND B). END SUMMARY.

PRESSING THE GOC ON DOMESTIC WAR CRIME PROSECUTIONS


--------------------------



--------------------------





4. (C) WE MET ON APRIL 2 WITH MINISTER OF JUSTICE INGRID
ANTICEVIC-MARINOVIC AND ASSISTANT MINISTER OF JUSTICE FOR
CRIMINAL AFFAIRS DUBRAVKO PALIJAS TO REVIEW GOC PLANS TO
IMPROVE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF DOMESTIC WAR CRIMES TRIALS. WE
TOLD THE MINISTER THAT, PURSUANT TO S/WCI AMBASSADOR
PROSPER'S DISCUSSIONS IN ZAGREB IN JULY 2002 (REF F), THE USG
HAS IDENTIFIED USD TWO MILLION IN ASSISTANCE TO SUPPORT
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 ZAGREB 00790 01 OF 03 091557Z
CROATIAN EFFORTS. WE TOLD THE MINISTER THAT WASHINGTON IS
PREPARED TO DISPATCH A TEAM OF EXPERTS TO DEVELOP A
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN FOR THE FUNDS THAT WE WOULD PRESENT TO THE
GOC FOR COMMENT AND APPROVAL. HOWEVER, AS A FIRST STEP, WE
WANTED TO GET A BETTER SENSE OF WHERE THE GOC STANDS IN
PASSING LEGISLATION THAT WOULD FACILITATE LOCAL PROSECUTIONS
AND THE WORK OF THE EXPERT TEAM.



5. (C) WE TOLD THE MINISTER THAT DESPITE THE POSITIVE
HANDLING OF THE GOSPIC WAR CRIMES TRIAL (REF C), WE CONTINUED
TO HAVE SERIOUS RESERVATIONS ABOUT THE ABILITY OF THE
CROATIAN COURTS TO PROSECUTE SENSITIVE WAR CRIMES FAIRLY AND
IMPARTIALLY. FROM OUR VANTAGE POINT, ONE POSSIBLE SOLUTION
WOULD BE TO CREATE A SINGLE WAR CRIMES COURT WITH HAND-PICKED
JUDGES. SUCH AN APPROACH WOULD ALLOW THE USG -- AND POSSIBLY
OTHER DONORS -- TO CHANNEL ASSISTANCE EFFICIENTLY. WE ALSO
TOLD THE MINISTER THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES MUST BE
GIVEN STRENGTHENED TOOLS TO INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE WAR
CRIMES. IN PARTICULAR, THE GOC NEEDS TO PASS WITNESS
PROTECTION LEGISLATION, AND TO GIVE PROSECUTORS MORE FREEDOM
TO CONCLUDE PLEA BARGAINING AGREEMENTS WITH COOPERATIVE
WITNESSES.



6. (C) ANTICEVIC-MARINOVIC TOLD US THAT THE GOC HAS BEEN
DEBATING VARIOUS CONCEPTS OF A WAR CRIMES COURT FOR OVER TWO

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ1092

PAGE 01 ZAGREB 00790 02 OF 03 091558Z
ACTION SWCI-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AF-00 AGRE-00 AID-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00
INL-00 USNW-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00 EAP-00
EB-00 EUR-00 E-00 VC-00 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00
LAB-01 L-00 VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OIC-02
OMB-02 DHS-00 PA-00 PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00
SCT-00 SP-00 SSO-00 SS-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00 ECA-00
PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-00 DRL-01 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00
/007W


--------------------------

530F7F 091558Z /38
P 091601Z APR 03
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9917
INFO AMEMBASSY BELGRADE PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY LJUBLJANA PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE PRIORITY
DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY
USMISSION USOSCE PRIORITY
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 ZAGREB 000790

SIPDIS

STATE FOR S/WCI, EUR/SCE, INL/AAE, EUR/ACE, AND DRL
JUSTICE FOR OPDAT AND ICITAP
SARAJEVO FOR KONTOS AND TILMAN
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ZAGREB 00790 02 OF 03 091558Z
BELGRADE FOR BROWN
THE HAGUE FOR JOHNSON/KAYE/WHEATON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/09/2013
TAGS: KAWC KJUS PREL EAID KJUS PREL EAID KJUS PREL EAID HR HRKAWC UNSC ICTY
SUBJECT: ASSISTING CROATIA TO STRENGTHEN DOMESTIC WAR
CRIMES PROSECUTIONS: RECOMMENDED WAY AHEAD

YEARS. IN FACT, ONE APPROACH, CONCEIVED BY A/M PALIJAS IN
DECEMBER 2002, CALLED FOR THE CREATION OF A SINGLE WAR CRIMES
COURT IN ZAGREB. THE MINISTER SAID THAT SHE REJECTED THAT
PROPOSAL BECAUSE IT WOULD REQUIRE THE GOC TO HIRE MORE JUDGES
IN ZAGREB TO HANDLE THE ADDITIONAL WORKLOAD. THE MOJ DOES
NOT HAVE THAT ADDITIONAL FUNDING. RATHER, SHE ENVISIONED
CENTRALIZING WAR CRIMES PROSECUTIONS IN CROATIA'S FOUR MAJOR
URBAN CENTERS: ZAGREB, SPLIT, RIJEKA AND OSIJEK. TO PREVENT
BIASED JUDGES FROM RECEIVING WAR CRIMES CASES -- AS OCCURRED
IN THE LORA WAR CRIMES TRIAL FIASCO (REF D) -- THE WAR CRIMES
BILL WOULD GRANT THE PRESIDENT OF THE SUPREME COURT SPECIAL
AUTHORITY TO TRANSFER CASES BETWEEN JURISDICTIONS AND TO
SELECT THE JUDGES THAT WOULD TRY THE CASES.



7. (C) THE MINISTER SAID THAT CROATIAN WAR CRIMES EXPERT,
PROFESSOR IVO JOSIPOVIC, HAS BEEN TASKED WITH DEVELOPING A
NEW DRAFT DOMESTIC WAR CRIMES BILL. HIS DRAFT SHOULD BE
READY BY THE END OF APRIL, ANTICEVIC-MARINOVIC SAID. SHE
ANTICIPATED THAT THE GOC WOULD APPROVE THE DRAFT SOMETIME IN
MAY AND THEN FORWARD IT TO PARLIAMENT FOR APPROVAL UNDER
"URGENT PROCEDURE," MEANING THAT THE LAW COULD BE ADOPTED BY
MID-2003. ADDITIONALLY, A WITNESS PROTECTION BILL -- DRAFTED
IN COOPERATION WITH OUR DOJ/OPDAT RESIDENT LEGAL ADVISOR --
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 ZAGREB 00790 02 OF 03 091558Z
IS PENDING BEFORE THE GOC FOR APPROVAL.



8. (C) AFTER OUR OPTIMISTIC MEETING WITH THE MINISTER, WE MET
SEPARATELY WITH A/M PALIJAS. DISPLAYING A RARE BURST OF
EMOTION AND ANGER, PALIJAS (PROTECT) CRITICIZED HIS MINISTER
AND THE GOC ON ITS APPROACH TO WAR CRIMES LEGISLATION.
PALIJAS SAID THAT ANTICEVIC-MARINOVIC INITIALLY AGREED THAT
HIS SINGLE WAR CRIMES COURT PROPOSAL WOULD BE THE MOST
EFFICIENT WAY TO STRENGTHEN LOCAL WAR CRIMES PROSECUTIONS.
THE GOC REJECTED HIS APPROACH, NOT BECAUSE OF FINANCIAL
CONCERNS, BUT BECAUSE THE GOC FEARS A SINGLE WAR CRIMES COURT
WOULD BE A POLITICAL LIGHTNING ROD, HE EXPLAINED. PALIJAS
ALSO WAS SKEPTICAL THAT THE GOC WOULD PUT A DOMESTIC WAR
CRIMES BILL ON THE SABOR FAST TRACK IN AN ELECTION YEAR. HE
SAID HE WOULD BE PLEASANTLY SURPRISED IF THE LAW WERE PASSED
BY SEPTEMBER.



9. (C) FOLLOWING UP ON OUR DISCUSSIONS IN THE MINISTRY OF
JUSTICE, WE MET ON APRIL 3 WITH PROFESSOR JOSIPOVIC. LIKE
PALIJAS, JOSIPOVIC WAS PESSIMISTIC ABOUT THE GOC APPROVING A
WAR CRIMES BILL ANY TIME SOON. HE ADDED THAT "THE GOC DOES
NOT KNOW WHAT IT WANTS OTHER THAN TO ENSURE THAT THE BILL
DOES NOT HAVE A HIGH POLITICAL PROFILE."



10. (C) JOSIPOVIC SAID THAT HE PLACES MUCH OF THE BLAME ON
THE COURTS FOR THE GENERAL FAILURE OF THE CROATIAN CRIMINAL
JUSTICE SYSTEM TO TRY WAR CRIMES EFFECTIVELY. IN PARTICULAR,
SUPREME COURT PRESIDENT IVICA CRNIC HAS FAILED TO DEMONSTRATE
LEADERSHIP AND REIN IN RIGHT-WINGERS IN THE COURTS.
CONSEQUENTLY, JOSIPOVIC'S DRAFT BILL WILL GIVE PROSECUTORS,
NOT THE SUPREME COURT, THE RIGHT TO DECIDE IN WHICH
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 ZAGREB 00790 02 OF 03 091558Z
PARTICULAR JURISDICTION TO TRY A WAR CRIMES CASE. JOSIPOVIC
EXPECTED STRONG OPPOSITION TO HIS DRAFT FROM THE
INWARD-LOOKING JUDICIARY IN ADDITION TO THE EXPECTED CARPING
FROM THE RIGHT-WING.

COMMENT AND RECOMMENDATION


--------------------------





11. (C) THE GOC HAS BEEN WORKING FITFULLY ON A SPECIAL WAR
CRIMES COURT FOR THE PAST TWO AND HALF YEARS. IN THAT TIME,
WE HAVE SEEN THREE DIFFERENT DRAFTS, ALL WITH THEIR PLUSSES
AND MINUSES. WHILE, IN OUR JUDGMENT, THE SINGLE ZAGREB-BASED
COURT WOULD BE THE BEST OPTION, ANY OF THE OPTIONS THAT THE
VARIOUS GOC DRAFTERS DEVELOPED WOULD PROVIDE US WITH AN
ADEQUATE FRAMEWORK IN WHICH TO CHANNEL OUR ASSISTANCE. THE
BOTTOM LINE IS THAT, ALTHOUGH THE MINISTER'S ASSURANCES THAT
THE GOC IS COMMITTED TO PASSING QUICKLY SPECIAL WAR CRIMES
LEGISLATION ARE WELCOME, UNTIL A DRAFT LAW IS APPROVED BY THE
GOC AND FORWARDED TO PARLIAMENT, THERE IS NO BASIS FOR US TO
MOVE FORWARD WITH AN ASSISTANCE PLAN. ABSENT SPECIAL WAR
CRIMES LEGISLATION THAT CREATES THE RIGHT FRAMEWORK FOR US TO
TARGET OUR ASSISTANCE, WE RUN THE RISK OF FRITTERING AWAY OUR
SCARCE ASSISTANCE DOLLARS.



12. (C) PER REF E, THE FY03 SEED FUNDS THAT WILL SUPPORT OUR

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ1090

PAGE 01 ZAGREB 00790 03 OF 03 091558Z
ACTION SWCI-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AF-00 AGRE-00 AID-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00
INL-00 USNW-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00 PERC-00 SRPP-00 DS-00
EAP-00 EB-00 EUR-00 E-00 VC-00 TEDE-00 INR-00
IO-00 LAB-01 L-00 VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 NSCE-00
OIC-02 OMB-02 DHS-00 PA-00 PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00
P-00 SCT-00 SP-00 IRM-00 SSO-00 SS-00 TRSE-00
USIE-00 ECA-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-00 DRL-01 G-00
NFAT-00 SAS-00 /007W


--------------------------

530F8C 091558Z /38
P 091601Z APR 03
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9918
INFO AMEMBASSY BELGRADE PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY LJUBLJANA PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE PRIORITY
DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY
USMISSION USOSCE PRIORITY
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 ZAGREB 000790

SIPDIS

STATE FOR S/WCI, EUR/SCE, INL/AAE, EUR/ACE, AND DRL
JUSTICE FOR OPDAT AND ICITAP
SARAJEVO FOR KONTOS AND TILMAN
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ZAGREB 00790 03 OF 03 091558Z
BELGRADE FOR BROWN
THE HAGUE FOR JOHNSON/KAYE/WHEATON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/09/2013
TAGS: KAWC KJUS PREL EAID KJUS PREL EAID KJUS PREL EAID HR HRKAWC UNSC ICTY
SUBJECT: ASSISTING CROATIA TO STRENGTHEN DOMESTIC WAR
CRIMES PROSECUTIONS: RECOMMENDED WAY AHEAD

CROATIA DOMESTIC WAR CRIMES INITIATIVE ARE "TWO YEAR" MONIES.
TO BE ON THE SAFE SIDE, WE WOULD HAVE UNTIL LATE SPRING 2004
TO OBLIGATE THEM. THIS GIVES US SOME FLEXIBILITY TO ALLOW
THE GOC TO FOLLOW THROUGH AND DEVELOP WORKABLE WAR CRIMES
LEGISLATION BEFORE SENDING A TEAM OF EXPERTS TO ZAGREB.



13. (C) AT THIS STAGE, WE RECOMMEND THAT S/WCI AMBASSADOR
PROSPER RETURN TO ZAGREB IN EARLY- TO MID-MAY. SUCH A VISIT
WOULD HELP US TO LAY THE GROUNDWORK FOR A FUTURE EXPERT TEAM
VISIT BY PRESSING THE GOC TO MOVE FORWARD WITH DOMESTIC WAR
CRIMES LEGISLATION. AMBASSADOR PROSPER'S RETURN WOULD BE
PARTICULARLY TIMELY NOW THAT THE GOC HAS TAKEN POSITIVE STEPS
TO COMPLY WITH OUTSTANDING OTP DOCUMENT REQUESTS, COMPLIED
WITH ICTY ORDERS IN THE BOBETKO CASE AND ARRESTED ICTY
FUGITIVE IVICA RAJIC (REFS A AND B).
ROSSIN

CONFIDENTIAL

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