|07STATE63229||2007-05-09 21:04:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Secretary of State|
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C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 063229
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Department requests Embassies encourage
host governments to support UN Security Council action to
establish the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. In New York,
Belgium, Italy, Peru, and Slovakia have been generally
supportive of the P-3's call for Council action, via a
Chapter VII resolution, to establish the Special Tribunal for
Lebanon; however, we would like to verify their support. The
positions of Congo, Ghana, and South Africa are less clear;
Department requests Posts encourage them to support Council
action and report concerns they may have. Posts should draw
from the background in paras 4-8. End Summary.
2. (SBU) OBJECTIVES: Department requests Embassies pursue
the following objectives:
-- Encourage host country to support UN Security Council
action to establish the Special Tribunal via Chapter VII
-- Underscore that the Lebanese parliamentary ratification
process is definitively blocked - the opposition refused to
discuss specific concerns about the Statute with UN Legal
Advisor Nicolas Michel and continues to link the Tribunal to
its desire for a blocking minority in the Cabinet.
-- Note that, as UN Legal Advisor Michel reported to the
Security Council, all parties in Lebanon support in principle
the establishment of the Tribunal. We understand fully the
importance of respecting the internal processes of member
states, but this is a case where the subversion of that
process - through terrorism and other threats of violence -
is itself the heart of the problem.
-- Emphasize that the Tribunal must be established soon for
operational reasons and in the interest of justice. It would
take at least a year for the Tribunal to become operational.
3. REPORTING DEADLINE: Embassy should report results of
efforts to IO/UNP: Anneliese Reinemeyer before May 11.
4. (U) The assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister
Rafiq Hariri on February 14, 2005, led to widespread protests
and the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon in April
2005. At the GOL's request, the UN established the UN
Independent International Investigation Commission (UNIIIC)
and has worked with the Lebanese Justice Minister and other
Lebanese officials to negotiate the Tribunal statute.
Approval of the Tribunal has become a key element in the
current political tension in Beirut, which pits PM Siniora
and his March 14 allies (the Saad Hariri faction) against the
pro-Syrian Hizballah-Aounist alliance (Note: March 14
commands a majority in the Parliament where the
Hizballah-Aounist alliance represents a minority. End note).
The UN and the Lebanese Cabinet have approved the Tribunal
Agreement and Statute; however, Hizballah and Syrian
sympathizers have prevented the Parliament from convening to
ratify the Agreement in an attempt to gain a blocking
minority in the Lebanese Cabinet.
5. (U) The Lebanese parliament, which was scheduled to
reconvene its regular session on March 20, has still not met.
A majority of the Lebanese parliament has documented more
than once its intent to ratify the Tribunal, if only the
Speaker of Parliament would allow them to convene. These
members of the parliamentary majority, who took office after
elections monitored by international observers and considered
free and fair, have turned to the UN, actively seeking
Security Council assistance to establish the Tribunal.
6. (C) The United States continues to fully support the
immediate establishment of the Special Tribunal to try those
responsible for perpetrating the attack that killed Rafiq
Hariri and 22 others. We believe the establishment of the
Tribunal is necessary to see that justice is done. The
Tribunal will serve as a deterrent to those who in the future
might be tempted to engage in similar violent crimes intended
to undermine Lebanon's democracy, sovereignty and
independence. While we would prefer Lebanese parliamentary
approval, this is no longer a realistic option. Therefore,
the U.S., France, and the UK are drafting a resolution that
would establish the Tribunal using the Security Council,s
authority under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Although
established by the Security Council under Chapter VII, the
Tribunal will retain all of the key Lebanese components,
including prosecutions under Lebanese law, some Lebanese
judges, and a Lebanese deputy prosecutor.
7. (C) UN Legal Advisor, Nicolas Michel, briefed the
Security Council on May 2 on the outcome of his recent trip
to Lebanon on April 16-18 to assess the chances of a Lebanese
solution to the impasse. Per Ref A, Belgium, Peru, and
Slovakia were generally supportive of Council action to
establish the Tribunal. Italy's position in the Council was
unclear, but subsequent conversations with the Italian
Embassy in Washington (Ref B) indicate they do not object to
Council action to establish the Tribunal, but are concerned
that we will not get enough votes to adopt the resolution.
(Note: The resolution will need nine affirmative votes and
no vetoes for adoption. End Note.) Congo, Ghana, and South
Africa did not state a position either in favor or against
UNSC action during their statements (Ref A).
8. For additional detailed background on the UNIIIC
investigation and Tribunal, please visit the intellipedia
site on the Hariri Tribunal:
Additional talking points can be found in Ref C.
9. POINT OF CONTACT: Please contact IO/UNP: Anneliese
Reinemeyer at (202) 647-0046 or via e-mail for further
background information or with questions.