GOL CLOSE TO SUBMITTING TRIBUNAL JUDGE NOMINEES TO UNITED NATIONS

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id: 113776
date: 6/28/2007 15:09
refid: 07BEIRUT963
origin: Embassy Beirut
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination:
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INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 1375
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIRUT 000963

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

NSC FOR ABRAMS/SINGH/MARCHESE/HARDING

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/28/2017
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PTER, SY, IS, LE
SUBJECT: LEBANON: GOL CLOSE TO SUBMITTING TRIBUNAL JUDGE
NOMINEES TO UNITED NATIONS

Classified By: Ambassador Jeffrey D. Feltman, Reasons: Section 1.4 (b)
and (d)

1. (C) Justice Minister Charles Rizk provided Ambassador on
June 28, 2007 with a list of names of twelve Lebanese judges
the GOL intends to nominate to the UN for selection for the
four seats on Special Tribunal. He said all twelve have
agreed to have their names put forward. The GOL has its
preferred four nominees. Rizk indicated those on the list he
gave the Ambassador and the GOL will discreetly inform UN
Legal Advisor Michel. The four include a Sunni, a Maronite
Christian, a Greek Catholic and a Greek Orthodox. Rizk also
gave the Ambassador the names of the GOL's two nominees for
the one Deputy Prosecutor position; it has no preference
which of the two the UN selects. One is a Sunni and one a
Maronite, so if the UN were concerned about confessional
balance among the preferred judges, it could select a deputy
prosecutor to correct that.

2. (C) Rizk said the two lists now go to PM Siniora, who is
out of the country and expected to approve them when he
returns, and then on to the UN.

3. (C) Below are the names of the nominees (Note: strictly
protect. These persons are at risk of being threatened or
assassinated for agreeing to act as Tribunal judges).

The four preferred nominees are:

Mr. Ralf Riachi
Mr. Choucri Sader
Mr. Akram Baassiri
Mr. Saad Jabbour

The eight other nominees are:

Mr. Afif Chamseddine
Mr. Samir Alieh
Mr. Joseph Maamari
Mr. Nadim Abdelmalak
Mr. Walid El-Akoum
Mr. Tannous Mechleb
Mme. Micheline Braidi
Mr. Ali Ibrahim

The two nominees for deputy prosecutor are:

Jocelyn Tabet, Maronite
Ghassan Oueidat, Sunni

4. (C) Comment: While the Lebanese did not move quite as
quickly in completing their lists as Rizk promised IO A/S
Silverberg at the beginning of June, it is still good news
that the Higher Judicial Council has made its recommendations
for the judges and that Rizk has made his recommendations
regarding the deputy prosecutor. When PM Siniora returns to
Lebanon from abroad, we will push on what is presumably an
open door to get these lists forwarded to New York ASAP.
Regarding the judges, Ralf Riachi and Choucri Sadr,
presumably, are shoe-ins for the UN. According to all
reports we have heard, they forged extremely good relations
with UN/OLA chief Nicolas Michel during the negotiations of
the statutes for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. We do not
know the other two judges on the preferred list, but Rizk
assured us that they are highly reputable. As for the
proposed candidates for the deputy prosecutor slot, both
Tabet and Oueidat are well regarded in legal circles. Tabet,
we note, is very close personally to Deputy Prime Minister
and Defense Minister Elias Murr (who, of course, is one of
the victims of the assassination attempts, having survived a
car bomb on July 12, 2005).

5. (C) Comment, continued: As noted above, it is important
to keep these names confidential, to lower the security risks
against the candidates. We hope that Sadr and Riachi are
already keeping a low profile, since it is a common
assumption that will be nominated. In a sad commentary on
the current security situation in Lebanon, Riachi told us
recently that, as an unmarried bachelor with no children and
no close relatives in Lebanon, he is more dispensible than
judges with family obligations -- and thus Riachi concludes
that he is an easy choice for the risks associated with the
tribunal.

BEIRUT 00000963 002 OF 002

FELTMAN

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