UNIIIC COMMISSIONER VOWS TO LEAVE NO STONE UNTURNED -- BUT NEEDS U.S. ASSISTANCE

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id: 144803
date: 3/7/2008 14:14
refid: 08BEIRUT350
origin: Embassy Beirut
classification: SECRET
destination: 08BEIRUT166
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1237
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RUEHROV/AMEMBASSY VATICAN PRIORITY 1107
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
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----------------- header ends ----------------

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 BEIRUT 000350

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR NEA/FO, NEA/ELA, PRM/FO, INL/FO, IO/FO, L/FO, AND
PM/FO
NSC FOR ABRAMS/SINGH/GAVITO
TREASURY FOR U/S LEVEY, DEPUTY SECRETARY KIMMITT
JUSTICE FOR OIA DIRECTOR WARLOW
DEPT PASS TO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/06/2019
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PTER, PARM, PINR, PREF, MASS, SY, IS, LE
SUBJECT: LEBANON: UNIIIC COMMISSIONER VOWS TO LEAVE NO
STONE UNTURNED -- BUT NEEDS U.S. ASSISTANCE

REF: BEIRUT 166

BEIRUT 00000350 001.2 OF 003

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires a.i. Michele J. Sison for Reasons: Sec
tion 1.4 (b) and (d).

SUMMARY
-------

1. (C) This is an action request. See paragraphs 13-14.

2. (C) UNIIIC Commissioner and Prosecutor-Designate Daniel
Bellemare is as determined as ever to succeed in his mission,
but warns that it will take more time and resources before he
will be able to issue indictments. Bellemare, who is
scheduled to present his next report to the UN Security
Council on April 8, would like to travel to Washington April
9 to meet with senior-level USG officials to discuss USG
assistance. End summary.

FOCUS, STAMINA, AND HELP FROM THE U.S.
--------------------------------------

3. (C) The Charge, accompanied by Pol/Econ Chief, paid an
introductory call on UN International Independent
Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) Commissioner and
Prosecutor-Designate Daniel Bellemare and UNIIIC investigator
Stacy de la Torre at UNIIIC headquarters on March 6.
Bellemare reiterated his previous message that "failure was
not an option," since it would send a bad message to
terrorists in the region. To achieve success UNIIIC,
however, needed to keep at it with focus, stamina, and the
best possible resources, including help from the U.S.

4. (C) UNIIIC's workload of 21 cases (the 2005 Hariri
assassination plus 20 others) was a "massive" investigation,
he stressed. UNIIIC is looking at similar investigations,
such as the FBI investigation into the attack on Khobar
towers, to understand better how to conduct its business and
enlist the cooperation of local authorities and in the
international community.

PRIMARY NEED IS INVESTIGATIVE LEADS
-----------------------------------

5. (S) Stressing that time is of the essence, Bellemare
reiterated his appeal for member states' assistance, both in
terms of providing intelligence leads and TDY experts on the
ground. As Commissioner, he needs investigative leads
provided through what UNIIIC would consider "anonymous" tips
that would allow him to develop admissible evidence that,
once he dons his prosecutor hat, can be used to make
indictments.

6. (S) The intelligence community can provide hints on where
to look, or where not to look, he said, citing an ICTY
example where, following a source's tip that a certain video
existed, the ICTY eventually was able to find this important
piece of evidence. For example, Bellemare said, UNIIIC has
sketches of potential witnesses whom it will need to
identify, but security reasons prevent it from mass
distributing them. The U.S. could help by using its network
of informants to help identify these people.

7. (C) I will "leave no stone unturned," Bellemare vowed,
"but I need U.S. assistance. Casting the net to see what you
catch is fine, but at some point you need to know what you
are fishing for." Bellemare reiterated that the general
"menu" of types of assistance needed was an attempt to make
it easy for member states to say yes. In terms of personnel,
Bellemare said the U.S. could help most by providing
experienced investigators to conduct "normal police-style"
interviews on the ground in Lebanon. He offered to travel to
Washington on April 9 to meet with USG officials, adding that
meetings with "high level contacts who can open doors" would
be greatly appreciated.

BEIRUT 00000350 002.2 OF 003

FORTRESS UNIIIC
---------------

8. (C) UNIIIC operates out of the Monteverde Hotel in the
hills outside of Beirut, which is now used exclusively for
UNIIIC offices and accommodation for UNIIIC personnel. The
"fortress" is protected by 500 military personnel in three
perimeters of defense: UN security, Internal Security Forces
(ISF), and Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). Bellemare himself
leaves the compound only when necessary and surrounded with a
50-vehicle motorcade. Even his international travel is kept
under tight wraps and involves the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police (when in Canada) and other security details.

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS ON INDICTMENTS
------------------------------------

9. (C) Stating that he was confident UNIIIC "will resolve
this, but it won't be overnight," Bellemare stressed the need
to manage expectations on when the Tribunal would be able to
issue formal indictments. Repeating what he told us on
January 31 (reftel), Bellemare said names of suspects will
not be in his next report but will only appear in the
indictments. UNIIIC needed to be pragmatic given the
challenging security environment. However the report, his
first, which he will present to the UN Security Council on
April 8, will differ in style and approach and be more
direct, he said, sending "clear signals in terms of
expectations."

10. (C) The Charge asked about recent leaks that Hizballah
was involved in at least some of the assassinations.
Bellemare, who also had heard the rumors, said the
information did not come from UNIIIC. (Note: UNIIIC sent us
a January 26, 2008 Stratfor article claiming Hizballah
carried out the January 25 bombing that killed ISF Captain
Wissam Eid, as well as the January 15 attack against a U.S.
Embassy vehicle. End note.

11. (C) Bellemare stressed that UNIIIC's investigation would
not be finished on June 15 (when its mandate expires), but he
did not know yet how and when UNIIIC would evolve into the
Tribunal. The Secretary General must consider three things
when deciding when to begin the Tribunal's operations:
finances (i.e., has the UN received funding for the first
three years?), the political circumstances, and the progress
of the investigation. It was best to avoid a long period
between the operational start-up and the first indictment,
Bellemare said, to avoid having judges sitting there idly
waiting.

12. (C) Bellemare further recalled that indictments in the
ICTY and ICC took two years, and the Oklahoma bombing
indictments did not happen overnight either, not to speak of
the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks. "We are not miracle
workers," Bellemare, so there should be "no illusions of
immediacy." However, the fact that the Tribunal had been
created despite the fact that the investigations were not
complete sent a political message that there would be an end
to impunity and that the process was irreversible. The
question now was not if but when the Tribunal would get to
the end results. "I don't believe in the perfect crime," he
said, "It's just a matter of time."

ACTION REQUEST
--------------

13. (C) Bellemare would like to visit Washington on April 9,
the day after he presents his report to the UN Security
Council. Post requests Department schedule (at a minimum)
meetings with NEA A/S Welch and IO A/S Silverberg. We also
strongly recommend a meeting with the Secretary and/or Deputy
Secretary, if available. Post requests Department also

SIPDIS
schedule meetings with the NSC, FBI, and DEA (investigators)

BEIRUT 00000350 003.2 OF 003

at the highest levels appropriate/possible. It would also be
useful for a member of Director Mueller's delegation to stop
in Beirut to meet with UNIIIC on the margins of Director
Mueller's upcoming visit to Amman.

14. (S) On assistance, we urge Washington agencies to be
forward-leaning in meeting UNIIIC's requests, especially in
terms of providing investigators to conduct interviews and
intelligence-sharing. End action request.
SISON

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