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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09ZAGREB602 2009-10-05 11:16:00 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Zagreb
Cable title:  

CROATIA PLANS NEW INVESTIGATION INTO MISSING

Tags:   PREL PGOV KAWC HR 
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VZCZCXRO1665
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHVB #0602/01 2781116
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 051116Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9566
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ZAGREB 000602 

SIPDIS
NOFORN

STATE PASS S/WCI FOR RAPP AND EUR/SCE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/02/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV KAWC HR
SUBJECT: CROATIA PLANS NEW INVESTIGATION INTO MISSING
GOTOVINA DOCUMENTS

REF: ZAGREB

Classified By: Political Officer Chris Zimmer for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (
d).



1. (C) SUMMARY: Justice Minister Ivan Simonovic told
Ambassador Foley on October 2 that Croatia is forming a
police-led interagency task force to conduct additional
investigations into missing documents related to the
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
(ICTY) trial of Croatian General Ante Gotovina. This is in
response to ICTY Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz's
assertions during a visit to Croatia earlier in the week that
Croatia's investigations to date were insufficient. It is
also an effort to convince EU member states that Croatia is
doing all it can to cooperate with ICTY. Other topics
covered in the meeting will be reported septel. END SUMMARY.



2. (C) The Ambassador and Justice Minister Ivan Simonovic met
on October 2 to discuss Croatia's cooperation with ICTY --
specifically with ICTY Prosecutor Brammertz -- and that
issue's ramifications for Croatia's EU accession process,
where four EU states have blocked opening of the "Judiciary"
Chapter (Chapter 23). This meeting was a follow-up to
Brammertz's September 28 visit to Croatia, during which
Brammertz met with Croatia's Council for ICTY Cooperation,
chaired by PM Jadranka Kosor, and continued to brand GoC's
cooperation as insufficient. Simonovic noted that
Brammertz's meeting with Kosor was "not very good". During
its subsequent internal meeting, Simonovic said, the GoC
decided to launch another investigation in an effort to
address Brammertz's criticisms and demonstrate once and for
all that the GoC had done everything it could to locate or
determine the fate of the missing documents.

Interagency Investigation


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





3. (C) Simonovic provided the Ambassador a copy of a letter
sent by Kosor to Brammertz on October 1, 2009, informing him
about the new investigation. This will be an interagency
effort, led by the Police and including officials from the
Ministries of Justice, Defense, Interior, and the
intelligence services. In response to the Ambassador's point
that previous investigations did not seem to pursue complete
lines of questioning with witnesses, Simonovic said that he
believes follow-through on questioning should improve with
professionally-trained police running the investigation.
Simonovic noted that in previous administrative
investigations led by the military, it was possible that
people were not open due to old friendships with Gotovina or
others involved in his case.

Brammertz's Experts to Meet with Investigators


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

-



4. (C/NF) Simonovic said he personally spoke to Brammertz on
October 1, and requested that Brammertz send his military
experts to meet with the Croatian investigators once the team
is fully established in approximately ten days. This would
be to ensure that the investigation was geared to meeting
Brammertz's requirements. According to Simonovic, Brammertz
agreed to this request reluctantly -- only because "he could
not say no." The Ambassador reminded Simonovic that Croatia
can avail itself of third party assistance with the
investigation. While such a step might not make a difference
with Brammertz, it could help Croatia convince others that it
was doing everything to ensure that the investigation is
credible.

Sustaining Cooperation with ICTY is Essential


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

-



5. (C/NF) The Ambassador welcomed the new investigation and
said that EU members with whom he had spoken would also be
pleased. Noting Simonovic's stated fear that Brammertz may
never be satisfied with any result other than the delivery of
the missing documents, the Ambassador observed that a
credible investigation with a clear, comprehensive report
could help sway those EU members still concerned about
Croatia's cooperation, regardless of Brammertz's conclusions.




6. (C/NF) Simonovic stressed that Croatia believes its
earlier investigations were sufficient to satisfy the Trial
Chamber's order to submit the documents or to report on their

ZAGREB 00000602 002 OF 002


status. One downside of the new investigation was the risk
that it would legitimize Brammertz's claims to the contrary.
Croatia had decided to take this new step to reassure
Brammertz and EU members that Croatia was willing to "go the
extra mile" to address Brammertz's criticisms of the earlier
investigations. Simonovic shared with the Ambassador a copy
of the letters the GoC has exchanged with Brammertz over the
last several months addressing these criticisms. (Post will
send copies to S/WCI and EUR/SCE.)



7. (C/NF) One reason Simonovic was not optimistic that
Brammertz could be satisfied even by a more professional
investigation was due to his stated indifference to GoC
prosecution of six individuals accused of having removed or
destroyed wanted documents. The GoC prosecutions were,
according to Simonovic, directly responsive to ICTY orders to
establish the chain of custody, and could actually be used by
Brammertz to strengthen his case against Gotovina.



8. (C/NF) Continuing, Simonovic restated the GoC's belief
that the missing documents were "in the possession of
Gotovina and his circle" and were "not likely on the
territory of Croatia." Moreover, it was difficult to imagine
that those who had purloined the documents would confess what
they had done and thereby risk disbarment and prosecution.
Simonovic also shared speculation about what he called
"paradoxes" concerning the documents. Some experts, he said,
believed that the original documents may not have been
incriminating but had been doctored by Gotovina in the
aftermath of the war so as to inflate his role in the eyes of
history and for the purposes of his memoirs.



9. (C/NF) COMMENT: Croatia's decision to undertake further
investigations to try and find missing documents, or learn
more about how they disappeared, is a welcome step.
Brammertz may indeed portray the decision as a tacit
admission that Croatia has not been fully cooperating with
ICTY on the documents issue to date. The important question
is whether -- as Brammertz claimed to local ambassadors last
week -- he would prove willing to acknowledge a credible GoC
investigation in lieu of the documents themselves. The focus
is now on the GoC to meet this test -- at least in the eyes
of key EU states (UK, Netherlands, Belgium, and Finland) who
will determine whether Croatia is cooperating sufficiently
with ICTY to permit negotiations on Chapter 23 to begin, if
not of Brammertz himself. END COMMENT.
FOLEY