Viewing cable 03ZAGREB2170

03ZAGREB21702003-10-07 11:47:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Zagreb
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L  ZAGREB 002170 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/07/2013 
¶1. (C) ICTY Chief Prosecutor Carla del Ponte briefed the 
diplomatic corps in Zagreb following her October 6 meetings 
with PM Racan and President Mesic.  Del Ponte was pleased 
with the GoC's new-found capacity to fulfill requests for 
assistance from the OTP.  As expected, she was harshly 
critical of GoC efforts to date to find and apprehend ICTY 
fugitive Ante Gotovina, and said she had given PM Racan 
specific information of individuals and "services" in Croatia 
which were supporting Gotovina's flight from justice.  Del 
Ponte commented that the GoC could arrest Gotovina in "a 
matter of weeks" if it made a concerted effort.  The 
Prosecutor credited international pressure, particularly from 
the EU, for the GoC's improved performance, and asked that 
the international community maintain that pressure to ensure 
Croatia's continued cooperation with the ICTY.  Del Ponte 
expressed confidence that Croatian prosecutors and special 
war crimes courts would be able to take over outstanding war 
crimes cases as called for the ICTY completion strategy. End 
Documents are Flowing 
¶2. (C) In a well-attended briefing for the diplomatic corps 
October 6, ICTY Chief Prosecutor Carla del Ponte stated that 
the GoC's performance in meeting requests for assistance 
(RFAs) -- access to documentary archives and access to 
individuals -- had improved markedly over the last few 
months.  She specifically said she would avoid the term 
"satisfied" as it had too many possible interpretations.  She 
said that RFAs that had been outstanding over 13 months were 
now being completed.  She stressed that her office would need 
to review the materials being delivered, but was confident 
that the quantity and quality represented significant 
improvement over the past. 
¶3. (C) Del Ponte credited pressure from the international 
community, particularly from the EU as it reviewed 
ratification of Croatia's SAA, as the critical impetus for 
the GoC's improved performance.  Commenting on questions over 
whether the ICTY could continue to provide this kind of clear 
benchmark for the GoC's performance in cooperating with the 
ICTY, del Ponte said that the requests for assistance are 
constantly being generated, but that she was more positive 
now that the GoC would not sit on new requests.  She said she 
hoped the GoC would continue to answer RFAs in a timely 
GoC still stalling on Gotovina 
¶4. (C) Del Ponte said that two previous reports the GoC had 
provided her on September 18th and 25th on its efforts to 
arrest Gotovina (reports required under Rule 59 of the 
Tribunal) were "absolutely unacceptable."  She said she had 
not reviewed a new report handed to her that day, but at 
first glance it appears to complement and add to the previous 
¶5. (C) Del Ponte said she had provided PM Racan and Police 
Chief Ranko Ostojic with her assessment of why she continues 
to believe that ICTY indictee and fugitive Ante Gotovina is 
still in Croatia.  She noted that President Mesic had told 
her a year ago that he had seen Gotovina personally in Zagreb 
in the company of a police escort. 
¶6. (C) In her separate, private meeting with PM Racan, she 
said she had provided Racan with specific information on 
individuals and parts of institutions that continue to 
support Govovina's flight from justice.  Racan said he would 
work to ensure the information does not become 
"contaminated," repeating the term to refer to the need to 
dismiss some authorities because of such "contamination." 
¶7. (C) Speaking of the two meetings, she said that some 
information was known to her Croatian interlocutors, but some 
had surprised them.  She said that Racan had softened his 
line as a result, saying to her what he repeated at their 
press conference, that the GoC was ready to arrest Gotovina 
if he is in Croatia, and to assist other governments if he is 
¶8. (C) Commenting on local press reports, del Ponte said that 
the ICTY had not/not conducted any negotiations with Gotovina 
via Ivo Pukanic, editor in chief of the sensationalist weekly 
Nacional.  She let Thomas Osorio -- the ICTY Head of Office 
in Zagreb -- explain that Pukanic had approached Osorio with 
a message from Gotovina, to which the ICTY had responded that 
there would be no deals, the indictment against Gotovina 
would not be withdrawn, and that the only place for Gotovina 
was in The Hague.  Del Ponte said President Mesic had 
indicated that Pukanic had approached him as well, and Mesic 
had responded with the message to Gotovina that it would be 
best if the fugitive general would voluntarily surrender 
himself.  Del Ponte said, without further elaboration, that 
the infamous photo on the cover of the June 10th issue of 
Nacional, showing Pukanic and Gotovina together, was 
evidently a forgery. 
¶9. (C) Del Ponte also criticized the GoC, stating that 
Gotovina was continuing to draw on his military pension, 
while his wife continued to receive her colonel's military 
salary without reporting for duty, but no effort had been 
made to track down to whom or where the money was being sent. 
 Del Ponte noted that she did not believe that these funds 
were sufficient to sustain the evidently luxurious lifestyle 
Gotovina was enjoying on the run, but the fact they were 
still flowing indicated a lack of effort on the part of the 
GoC since the prosecutor's office had highlighted these flows 
back in December 2001.  President Mesic promised to look into 
the matter. 
Importance of International Pressure 
¶10. (C) When the Dutch ambassador asked her whether she 
wasn't putting too much emphasis on Gotovina in light of the 
improved cooperation on the documentation issue, del Ponte 
responded that it was clear to her that the recent progress 
was only happening because of international pressure.  Del 
Ponte said she believed Gotovina could be arrested in a few 
weeks, if GoC efforts continued as they were now.  The EU 
ambassador commented that ratification of Croatia's EU SAA 
depended on her report to the UNSC.  Del Ponte responded that 
she would keep her report strictly to the facts.  However, 
she believed personally that it would be better if Gotovina 
remained a condition of SAA ratification, as she was sure the 
GoC could arrest him if it wanted to. 
No Interest in New Indictments 
¶11. (C) Del Ponte said that none of her interlocutors had 
expressed any interest in new indictments being prepared by 
the ICTY.  She said the investigations were complete to open 
four new indictments, but declined to answer when these would 
be released. 
Local Capacity 
¶12. (C) Del Ponte commented that she had confidence in State 
Prosecutor Mladen Bajic and his office's ability to take over 
local prosecution of cases under the ICTY completion 
strategy.  She added that the successful prosecution of Norac 
had improved her confidence in the ability of Croatian courts 
to take on more war crimes cases. 
¶13. (C) Del Ponte said the pending law on war crimes which 
would designate special courts to try war crimes cases would 
hopefully prevent future travesties of justice as had 
occurred in the Lora case in Split.  She noted that when her 
team had complained in one meeting today that the draft war 
crimes law did not have adequate provision for the use of 
ICTY-generated evidence in Croatian court proceedings, 
Minister of Justice Anticevic-Marinovic had picked up her 
cell phone and called the drafters working on the legislation 
to order the necessary change.  (Note: the draft law passed 
first reading in the Sabor on October 1st, but had been taken 
off the fast track.  This could indicate the law will be back 
in for a final vote before the Sabor is dissolved on October 
14th in advance of the November 23rd elections.  End Note.)