Viewing cable 07SARAJEVO1403
Title: AMB. WILLIAMSON DELIVERS STRONG MESSAGE ON PIFWCS,

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07SARAJEVO14032007-06-25 05:39:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Sarajevo
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 SARAJEVO 001403 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR (DICARLO), EUR/SCE (STINCHCOMB, HOH), 
EUR/ACE (DUNN) S/WCI (WILLIAMSON, LAVINE); NSC FOR BRAUN; 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/18/2017 
TAGS: PREL KAWC ICTY KJUS PGOV BK
SUBJECT: AMB. WILLIAMSON DELIVERS STRONG MESSAGE ON PIFWCS, 
WAR CRIMES PROSECUTIONS 
 
REF: SARAJEVO 1212 
 
Classified By: Amb. Douglas L. McElhaney.  Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
¶1. (C) Summary:  During a two-day visit to Sarajevo, 
Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues J. Clint Williamson 
met with top Bosnian politicians, justice officials and 
members of international organizations to discuss improving 
Bosnia's justice system in advance of the ICTY's planned 2009 
closure.  Ambassador Williamson conveyed a clear message that 
capturing fugitive war criminals is a top U.S. priority.  He 
urged Bosnian officials to depoliticize war crimes issues, 
improve regional cooperation, develop a domestic prosecution 
strategy and build a state prison.  Bosnian interlocutors 
expressed concern that the difficult political climate was 
beginning to have a negative impact on war crimes issues, but 
expressed appreciation for continued USG engagement. End 
summary. 
 
Main Themes 
----------- 
 
¶2. (U) On June 13-14, Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes J. 
Clint Williamson met with the BiH Presidency (Zeljko Komsic, 
Nebojca Radmanovic, and Haris Silajdzic  He also had meetings 
with Principal Deputy High Representative (PDHR) Raffi 
Gregorian; OSCE Mission Head Ambassador Douglas Davidson; 
Srebrenica Mayor Abdurahman Malkic; OSA (State Intelligence 
Agency) Director Almir Dzuvo; Prime Minister Nikola Spiric; 
Party for Democratic Action (SDA) Vice President and Member 
of Parliament Bakir Izetbegovic; Deputy Speaker of the House 
of Representatives and HDZ-BiH Vice President Niko Lozancic; 
State Court President Meddzida Kreso; and State Chief 
Prosecutor Marinko Jurcevic.  All expressed appreciation for 
the USG's continued engagement and assistance to help Bosnia 
resolve these issues.  The Ambassador also gave an exclusive 
interview to Dnevni Avaz, the largest-circulation daily paper 
in Bosnia, and delivered a televised speech to an audience of 
politicians, government officials, NGOs and victims advocacy 
groups at the Research and Documentation Center in Sarajevo. 
 
¶3. (U) During his meetings and in the media, Williamson 
stressed several themes: 
 
-- The U.S. attaches great importance to apprehending the 
remaining Persons Indicted for War Crimes (PIFWCs).  Ratko 
Mladic and Radovan Karadzic cannot out wait The Hague 
Tribunal.  In the event that they are captured after the ICTY 
close-out, some international mechanism must be created to 
deal with them. 
 
-- While war crimes issues are understandably integral to 
domestic politics, politicians must not to exploit or 
manipulate them for political gain. 
 
-- Bosnia would benefit from increased regional prosecutorial 
cooperation on war crimes cases, including transferring 
evidence to neighboring countries that have prohibitions 
against extraditing defendants. 
 
-- Bosnia's leaders need to provide political, financial, and 
institutional support to the State Court and State 
Prosecutor's office, including backing a prosecution strategy 
to prioritize the large number of war crimes cases. 
 
-- As the recent escape of Radovan Stankovic from Foca Prison 
(reftel) demonstrates, there is a clear need for a high 
security State Prison to house convicted war criminals. 
 
PIFWC Captures a Matter of Serbia's Political Will 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
¶4. (C) Ambassador Williamson's Bosnian and international 
interlocutors generally agreed that the recent arrest of 
PIFWC Zdravko Tolimir (reftel) was evidence that the 
apprehension of Mladic, Karadzic and other remaining PIFWCs, 
who are likely in Serbia, was purely a matter of political 
will in Belgrade.  Croat Presidency member Zeljko Komsic said 
he was not sure whether to be pleased Tolimir was finally at 
The Hague, or outraged that his so-called "capture" was 
 
SARAJEVO 00001403  002 OF 005 
 
 
clearly staged by Serbian authorities. 
 
¶5. (C) Party for Democratic Action (SDA) Vice President and 
Member of Parliament Bakir Izetbegovic told Ambassador 
Williamson that if Mladic and Karadzic were not captured, it 
would be a huge blow to the international community's 
credibility here, particularly because, "Bosniak defenders 
have gone to jail while these men remain at liberty." 
Bosniak Presidency member Haris Silajdzic said arresting 
Mladic and Karadzic was in some ways beside the point.  He 
reiterated his familiar maximalist position, stating that the 
priority should be dismantling their "project" by abolishing 
the Republika Srpska (RS) and granting Srebrenica legal 
special status. 
 
¶6. (C) PDHR Raffi Gregorian observed that Serbian Prime 
Minister Vojislav Kostunica has never publicly called for 
Mladic's arrest.  He noted that he and Karadzic have now been 
at large longer under Kostunica's democratic government than 
they were when Milosevic was in power.  According to PDHR 
Gregorian, Bosnian authorities have had some success freezing 
the assets of PIFWC Stojan Zupljanin's support network. 
However, they were just beginning to focus on the Karadzic 
network, and were not putting sufficient pressure on 
Karadzic's family.  PDHR Gregorian judged that there was 
insufficient coordination between the ICTY and NATO, and the 
ICTY public outreach program in Bosnia was inadequate. 
 
¶7. (C) OSA Director Almir Dzuvo told Ambassador Williamson 
that his agency had very good cooperation with the RS 
Ministry of Interior (MUP), as well as with Serbian and 
Montenegrin intelligence services.  Dzuvo said the November 
meeting in Montenegro for regional intelligence services, 
hosted by S/WCI and the ICTY, had helped build that 
cooperation.  Dzuvo told Ambassador Williamson he was 
interested in hosting a similar gathering in the future. 
When asked about the specifics of Tolimir's apprehension, 
Dzuvo said that he was not really interested in the 
circumstances surrounding the arrest; the important thing was 
that Tolimir is now at The Hague.  Interestingly, when asked 
directly by Ambassador Williamson, Dzuvo noted that not a 
single Bosnian politician had come to him to discuss the 
whereabouts of the fugitives.  "Only the ICTY, the U.S. and 
the UK seem interested anymore," he said. 
 
Depoliticizing War Crimes 
------------------------- 
 
¶8. (C) Mayor Abdurahman Malkic told Ambassador Williamson 
that politicization of Srebrenica's history and current 
status was inevitable as long as the justice system remained 
incapable of adequately addressing war crimes.  He said that 
if plans to open a satellite State Prosecutor's Office in 
Srebrenica were realized, it would demonstrate that the 
government was finally ready to deal seriously with these 
issues, including the so-called "Srebrenica list" of alleged 
war crimes perpetrators who still hold positions in RS 
government or law enforcement. 
 
¶9. (C) However, all the officials were skeptical that Bosnian 
politicians, as PM Nikola Spiric put it, were "adult enough" 
to put ethnic politics aside to address war crimes cases. 
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and HDZ-BiH 
Vice President Niko Lozancic said it was very difficult to 
have a civil conversation in Parliament about war crimes, 
because "one group's war criminal was another group's hero." 
When politicians circled the ethnic wagons, he told 
Ambassador Williamson, even those who privately disagreed 
were forced to fall in line. 
 
Parliament-Judiciary Communication 
---------------------------------- 
 
¶10. (C) Ambassador Williamson urged more dialogue between the 
government and the judiciary on administrative and financial 
issues, noting that confining discussions to these matters 
would not threaten judicial independence.  While agreeing 
that the government should provide tangible support to the 
State Court and Prosecutor's Office, Presidency members and 
parliamentarians claimed to be unaware of specific resource 
 
SARAJEVO 00001403  003 OF 005 
 
 
needs.  Spiric said Court President Kreso and Chief 
Prosecutor Jurcevic had never approached the Council of 
Ministers about these issues.  Izetbegovic characterized 
Parliament as a reactive body, and encouraged the State Court 
and Prosecutor's Office to be proactive in lobbying for their 
resource needs.  Izetbegovic hypothesized that the Ministry 
of Justice and Parliament should create a new commission to 
interact more closely with the Court and Prosecutor's Office. 
 Lozancic also suggested that the Ministry of Justice should 
become the conduit for communication between the two branches 
of government. 
 
¶11. (C) When Ambassador Williamson told Kreso that political 
leaders felt the current level of communication with the 
Court was insufficient, she appeared surprised and replied 
that the Court had developed a good working relationship with 
the Ministries of Treasury and Justice, and, through them, 
Parliament.  Jurcevic also insisted that he had already 
conveyed to Parliament his specific resource needs, but 
claimed politicians had no interest in solving these 
problems. 
 
Domestic Prosecution Strategy 
----------------------------- 
 
¶12. (C) Spiric said that building up the credibility of the 
State Court and Prosecutor's Office before the ICTY closes in 
2009 was just as important as building institutional 
capacity.  He said the State Prosecutor's Office would have 
his full support for creating a strategy, but cautioned that, 
despite being Prime Minister, his capabilities were limited. 
Komsic said he also supported the strategy, but agreed with 
Ambassador Williamson that the Prosecutor must continue 
pursuing cases while it was being developed. 
 
¶13. (C) PDHR Gregorian said OHR has been pressing the Chief 
Prosecutor to act on the Srebrenica list, including at one 
point giving him over 100 files to consider.  The PDHR 
expressed concern that Jurcevic might not be up to the job, 
and said OHR was beginning to consider replacing him.  For 
his part, Jurcevic told Ambassador Williamson he accepted 
PDHR Gregorian's view that Srebrenica prosecutions should be 
his top priority, and said that he would support the idea of 
opening a satellite prosecutor's office in Srebrenica -- 
provided the international community paid for it. 
 
¶14. (C) The meeting with Jurcevic was particularly 
unproductive.  In response to constructive suggestions as to 
how to improve the functioning of his office and insulate him 
from political pressure, Jurcevic focused on what everyone 
else has to do to improve the situation besides himself. 
 
¶15. (C) Jurcevic said Bosnia needs two war crimes prosecution 
strategies: an internal strategy for the State Prosecutor's 
Office, and a national strategy for the war crimes trials 
that are occurring throughout the country.  However, he went 
on to assert that the strategy (trying the 11bis cases at 
state court and parceling out rules of the road cases in 
accordance with prosecutorial guidelines) already existed. 
(Note: Jurcevic's so-called 'strategy' identifies the many 
thousand rules of the road cases as a single 'category,' and 
is thus ineffective in parceling out priorities among this 
large group. End Note.)  Jurcevic and Kreso both rejected the 
notion of working together to develop new guidelines for 
handling cases.  Jurcevic said the Criminal Procedure Code 
clearly specifies the independence of courts and prosecutors. 
 
Regional Cooperation Needed 
--------------------------- 
 
¶16. (C) Kreso complained that neighboring countries were 
conducting parallel investigations of the same war crimes 
suspects without coordinating with Bosnia.  Ambassador 
Williamson suggested that increased regional prosecutorial 
cooperation would help alleviate this problem.  Kreso, 
however, replied the Court needed more time to develop case 
law to govern keeping or transferring war crimes cases 
transnationally.  She insisted that any effort by the High 
Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) or Parliament to 
impose criteria would impinge upon judicial independence. 
 
SARAJEVO 00001403  004 OF 005 
 
 
Kreso conceded that if the State Prosecutor's Office 
suggested criteria for domestic and transnational case 
transfers, the judges would consider them. 
 
¶17. (C) For his part, Jurcevic told Ambassador Williamson he 
was powerless to do anything concrete, adding that Parliament 
must change the laws that were now impeding regional 
cooperation.  Ambassador Williamson cautioned that the public 
was losing patience with what it perceived as an excessively 
slow and unsystematic process, and this was undermining 
public confidence in the State Court and Prosecutor's Office. 
 
¶18. (C) Lozancic asserted that regional cooperation 
agreements at the prosecutorial level would not produce 
results.  He suggested the Prosecutor's Office and State 
Court discuss the matter with the Justice Ministry, which 
should then convey it to Parliament for a government 
decision.  Spiric said he supported enhanced regional 
cooperation, and told Ambassador Williamson that he would 
personally discuss the issue with the Court President and 
Chief Prosecutor. 
 
¶19. (C) Izetbegovic was of the opinion that Bosnia could work 
with Croatia and Montenegro on prosecutorial cooperation. 
However, he was certain the Serbian government would misuse 
information to warn defendants or deliberately mismanage 
cases.  Ambassador Williamson emphasized during his meetings 
that case transfers were wholly discretionary.  He added that 
he understood Bosnia's skepticism about Serbia's attitude 
towards war crimes prosecutions, and suggested that Bosnia 
cooperate with Croatia or Montenegro on a test case, and move 
towards eventual cooperation with Serbia. 
 
¶20. (C) OSCE Mission Head Ambassador Davidson said the 
standoff between Judge Kreso and Chief Prosecutor Jurcevic on 
transferring cases to foreign jurisdictions seemed to be more 
a personal power struggle than a result of political 
pressures.  He said the OSCE might be able to serve as an 
umbrella organization to facilitate regional cooperation, 
once the Bosnians were truly ready to move forward with 
formal agreements.  He noted that both institutions needed to 
have better public outreach. 
 
State Prison Needed 
------------------- 
 
¶21. (C) There was general agreement that Bosnia needed a 
State Prison to house war criminals.  Ambassador Williamson 
lobbied Parliamentary leaders on the need for Bosnian 
state-level funding for the Prison beyond what is currently 
budgeted.  PDHR Gregorian noted also the importance of 
creating a law on criminal sanctions at the State level. 
Gregorian explained that, because war criminals currently 
serve their sentences in entity prisons, entity penal laws 
apply. These laws granted privileges for good behavior, such 
as weekend furloughs, that were inappropriate for convicted 
war criminals.  He told Ambassador Williamson it was 
frustrating to see Parliament spend money it does not have on 
the wrong things.  Izetbegovic suggested Parliament might be 
able to find additional funds to help build the prison, but 
did not go into further details.  (Note: The Bosnian 
government recently pledged to contribute 1 million Euros to 
the project. End Note.) 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
¶22. (C) There has been no meaningful attempt by any group to 
separate war crimes issues from the nationalist politics that 
is currently paralyzing Bosnia.  Rather, politicians have 
demonstrated that they view the manipulation of war crimes as 
a legitimate means to advance their respective nationalist 
platforms. Although Bosnian political leaders told Ambassador 
Williamson they supported depoliticizing war crimes issues, 
improving regional cooperation, developing a domestic 
prosecution strategy and building a state prison, each spoke 
as if they individually had no role in that effort. 
Continued pressure on the State Court President and Chief 
Prosecutor to collaborate on lobbying Parliament for 
resources, developing a domestic war crimes prosecution 
 
SARAJEVO 00001403  005.2 OF 005 
 
 
strategy and improving regional cooperation will be important. 
MCELHANEY