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08USUNNEWYORK265 2008-03-24 20:36:00 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN USUN New York
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1. (C) During a luncheon between P-5 PermReps and SYG Ban on
March 19, Council President Russian PermRep Churkin raised
the issue of the transition between the UN International
Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) and the Special
Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). Noting that the setup of the STL
was going very smoothly, Churkin predicted that at this rate,
the Prosecutor would be able to assume office by June 16.
Recalling his meeting with UNIIIC Commissioner and
Prosecutor-designate Daniel Bellemare the week of March 10,
however, Churkin observed that there would be no indictments
for the Prosecutor to take forward at this time. This
situation could be "embarrassing" for the UNIIIC/STL and
should be avoided.

2. (C) SYG Ban agreed with Churkin that this timeline could
create a problem. He suggested that the Council could
address the issue by extending the UNIIIC mandate for six
months until the end of 2008, after which point the
Prosecutor would assume his duties. Ban noted that he would
likely submit a request to the Council shortly to extend the
UNIIIC mandate. French PR Ripert replied that Ban's
suggestion seemed sensible. Amb Khalilzad, noting that the
UNIIIC mandate will only expire on June 15, 2008, replied
that we still have a few months to consider the issue.
Council members should give Bellemare all the help he needs
over the next few months with his investigation and then see
where we are in June. Churkin did not object to Ban's
suggestion. Other P-5 PermReps did not speak on the issue.

3. (C) Separately, the French Mission told USUN on March 23
that it had received instructions to support a six-month
extension of the UNIIIC mandate until the end of 2008, after
which point the Prosecutor would assume his duties. The
French believe the UN can continue to demonstrate progress in
setting up the STL during the second half of 2008 via other
milestones, such as the meeting of judges, renovation of the
tribunal headquarters, etc. Although the British Mission
says it has yet to receive instructions from London on the
transition between UNIIIC and the STL, British diplomats have
told USUN that London is inclined to support the French
position, if only to support Bellemare's request for more
time as UNIIIC Commissioner before he assumes the title of