Bosnia and Herzegovina + 2 more

On-the-Record Briefing On the Presidential Decision Directive for Strengthening Criminal Justice Systems in Support of Peace Operations And Other Complex Contingencies

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release February 24, 2000

By Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics And Law Enforcement Affairs R. Rand Beers, Principal Deputy Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State for Kosovo and Dayton Implementation Ambassador James Pardew, National Security Council Senior Director Eric Schwartz, Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General James McAtamney, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense James A. Schear, And Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Agency for International Development Jennifer Windsor

Washington, D.C. February 24, 2000

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: Hi, I'm Randy Beers and we have here, as was indicated, an interagency team and we are prepared to answer any of your questions about the PDD.

QUESTION: I was going to -- I couldn't with a straight face ask if this program is going to blow up the bureaucracy, because there are so many people here. It probably would be considered a bad joke. These are just part of the new people?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: This is a part of the effort to convey that this is an administration effort and not a single-agency effort. All of these people regularly have worked on this issue, have been part of the effort to bring together what became the Presidential Decision Directive.

QUESTION: I'm having, of course, a lot of trouble understanding what the program is, because this is the first I've heard of it. I can't help it; the refrain keeps rocketing around in my head, "We're not the world's policeman." You know the aversion people in Congress have, of course, to involving Americans abroad in all sorts of mechanisms that they think may be better left to the locals. I hope you won't consider the question disrespectful or whatever, but I'm having a problem with this -- understanding this.

Are American semi-soldiers -- someone said "paramilitary;" that has a bad connotation.


QUESTION: I wouldn't use the phrase. But are American troops now going to become local policemen all over the world? I mean, what are we doing?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: No, this is in fact -- this is an effort to make a clear --

QUESTION: I know you mean good. You mean well. I know your intentions are well. But what are we doing?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: This is an effort to make clear the distinction between military and police functions in states in transition: a subject which hasn't always been clear and sometimes gets confused, and sometimes finds military taking on functions that are more appropriate for police forces. It is a recognition of the evolution of the concepts of peacekeeping over the last eight years, that have occurred: that the Secretary has obviously been very interested in from her very initial days at the UN. And that is one of the reasons that we're here today, because of that abiding interest on her part.

But what we are trying to do is make that distinction and, in conjunction with the UN -- this is a UN program; this is not a US program; this is US guidance for participating in the UN activities -- in conjunction with the UN, to create a more effective civilian police capability, that can be used on a global basis, when the UN decides that it is in the global interest to intervene in some fashion in a peacekeeping type situation in a country around the world.

QUESTION: Can you deal with the war crimes issue, a suspected war criminal? Wouldn't you think the first priority of this augmented, more muscular force would be to finally make the arrest that you folks can't seem to make of leading Serb war criminals?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: That is, within the context of the overall effort by the UN, one of the things we're talking about, is trying to define -- have the UN define -- the various types of missions that are appropriate for UN civilian police activities. And this is obviously one of those issues that would be appropriate.

But in the past, the function has, by and large, been what we call a police mentoring kind of function, and a police training kind of function. So that the UN force would come into a situation in which there is an existing police force that needs mentoring by seasoned veterans of police activities from around the world, or a police force which needs training, either to revalidate their credentials or to build them from scratch and provide -- and so it has been traditionally -- to provide that kind of training function.

As Jim Pardew and others can tell you, the situation has become somewhat more complex in the world today, and this is a recognition of that, and this is an effort, this is our guidance in terms of how we want to work with the UN to try to deal with these more complex situations.

MR. RUBIN: Before turning to Matt over here, let me just clarify, this is on the record, and I have given you their names and I think we'll do that again afterwards.

And in response to your question in a way that Randy probably couldn't, military operations have occurred in NATO, in Bosnia, that have led to the arrests of dozens of war criminals.

QUESTION: Not the big guy.

MR. RUBIN: But you said that that hasn't led to arrests.

QUESTION: I meant the big guys, the big fellas that don't seem to fall into our lap.

MR. RUBIN: I just wanted to point that dozens were arrested. Thank you.

QUESTION: I've got two questions. One, I'm a little bit confused. The questions seem to be that you -- around it -- this actually doesn't create any kind of new, enhanced force?


QUESTION: This only creates the opportunity -- creates a facility whereby people can be trained in order to go into these positions, right?


QUESTION: And the second thing is if you're talking about the UN, it seems to me that there's kind of -- I mean, I don't think it's a fatal flaw but, really, in order for this to work you need the UN on board, and you need to have the UN member countries on board doing the same thing that you are doing.


QUESTION: Otherwise, it's not going to make a bit of difference, because the amount of police that the US provides is not -- I mean, it's not a lot. It's not the majority of them. So how is it that the US Government is going to convince other UN member countries who are taking part in these operations to do the same thing, when many of those countries, I would imagine, wouldn't be particularly interested?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: The contents, the ideas, the foundation of this document, is the process of an evolution that has occurred, not just within the United States, but within the UN body as well. We have had, over the course of the last two years that I've been in this job, a series of conferences which have been sponsored by the peacekeeping office in the UN, to talk about the very subjects that are here.

The idea of creating a standby police force is not a new idea. It is, in fact, already embodied in what the UN has tried to do. It has not been -- and the UN would be the first to admit that -- it has not been successful. And the result of its lack of success is the failure, on the part of the UN, to receive from member nations sufficient police in a timely fashion to deploy, as required, in association with military peacekeeping situations, which has resulted in, in a number of cases, situations in which the military have been left to carry out tasks that would be more appropriate to be carried out by UN civilian police.

And what we are trying to do, in conjunction with the UN -- and we've already had discussions with them about the contents of this document, and there is nothing here that will be new or surprising to the UN, and I think we are ready to move forward.

In fact, the head of the peacekeeping office, Mr. Miyet, was in town last month, and talked to many of us who are up here about his concerns. And the one he was most concerned in his discussions with me was specifically the issue of: Can we get enough police into the field in a timely fashion? And you can pick Kosovo, probably, as the biggest example, but it is not exclusive to Kosovo. It goes to East Timor, it goes to Bosnia. We are under-strength from the authorized level in every peacekeeping situation around the world in civilian police.

QUESTION: My question is, I mean, can we expect similar initiatives to be announced by other countries, or are you kind of just flying out there on your own on this one and hoping other people are going to follow? Because it doesn't seem to me that this is going to make -- this by itself isn't going to do any good for actual UN operations in the field.


MR. SCHWARTZ: Let me take a stab at that if I may, and answer that question and make another point.

I think I want to underscore Randy's point that this is not about the US going it alone; this is much more a case of the US doing its part, in a circumstance where other governments are actually quite well advanced as well in the area of deployment of what we call CIVPOL. A number of European and other governments have already been deeply engaged in the process of identifying a corps of their own locals who can play the role of police monitors and do this kind of work, And so it's really much more that this Presidential Decision Directive is a directive which indicates that we're going to do our fair share as part of an international effort which is really already underway. This is not a case of us going it alone; it's really us doing our part.

The second point, which I think is critical, is this PDD is really about building indigenous capacity. It is not about, as one of the questioners suggested, are we the world's policeman. It really is about creating circumstances where the international community will not be expected to play the overwhelming role. It's about building local capacity.

Let me give you an example: East Timor. The military force, the INTERFET force, went in, pacified the situation, permitting a political transition. There is hundreds of millions of dollars committed to the development for the province. The political future is pretty well mapped out. It's going to be an independent country.

So you might make the facile assumption that the problem is solved but, in fact, there is no court system; there are no places to put accused criminals, no penal institutions, people to be in charge of the penal institutions. The legal system is almost nonexistent. There are no police on the beat.

And if we want, in these peace operations, to guard against demands that the United States and other governments bring in people -- forces in large numbers -- to perform these tasks, we have to develop the capacity to build local capacity. And that's what this CIVPOL PDD does. It will focus our efforts to be there, to help build judicial institutions, to help train local police, to help reform legal codes, so that it's not the international community that has to do the heavy lifting; it's the local community. And that is a fundamental thrust of this Presidential Decision Directive.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: It's an important clarification.

QUESTION: Will there be any US police or, you know, civilian police who would be trained, the same way that you would have the National Guard going about their other jobs but, when duty calls, then going off to a foreign country? Would it work in that way?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: That is the general concept that we're talking about, in terms of increasing the capacity on the US side. This would also be an idea that we would hope would be replicated and is, in fact, in some cases already underway in other countries who make these kinds of contributions.

So what we have been doing heretofore is training police volunteers in advance of an actual deployment. The idea here would be to find a cadre of individuals who are interested in this as a general proposition, who would be prepared to accept training without a commitment specifically to go on a specific operation the next day, month or week. So that they would be on a list of people who have been familiarized, which would be provided to the United Nations, who would see what their credentials and background were and, therefore, would be available to be deployed on a shorter-term notice than we would normally be able to do presently. And we would work with the UN to create the same kind of a situation on a global basis, something which they have sought to do for which there is interest, but for which there is not adequate capability at the present time.

QUESTION: How large would this force be? And, then, is the US asking for, you know, what kind of force do you envision from other countries? How many countries would be involved with manpower?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: The size of the US force is configured currently against the current level of US participation on a global basis, which, as the Secretary indicated, is between 700 and 800 police individuals. We would look at a size which is double that amount. These are one-year deployments on a normal basis, so we would be talking on a number -- and, please, this is a planning number -- of about 2,000 individuals that we would want to have in a pool of individuals, assuming the current number holds constant over time. If that number starts to increase, then the pool would begin to increase.

And, yes, we would look for these kinds of things to be true on the part of other individuals, so that the UN would have a list of credentialed individuals who had received some familiarization training, who would be available on a reasonably short notice to deploy in crisis situations as they arose. And then they would become replacement cadres for filling in behind, because no one is expecting the individuals to stay there for an indefinite period of time.

QUESTION: I am a little perplexed -- maybe you can help me -- on why this isn't called "in support of the UN's peace operations," since everybody up here so far has referred to the UN, and this isn't new to them, and you talk about other countries contributing. Is it part of a UN or a would-be UN program, or is it something else?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: It is part of a UN program, yes.

QUESTION: And why is it not called that in the name of --

MR. SCHWARTZ: As a practical matter, the overwhelming --when we talk about international peace operations, as a practical matter in the overwhelming majority of cases we're talking about UN operations: UN operations that are authorized by the Security Council where the United States is a permanent member and has the ability to veto or authorize.

The other point I wanted to make was, you know, an obvious question for all of you, I think, if I were to try to envision myself listening to this briefing is: What do these people do? And I think the answer is, they do several things.

In some cases, these people assist in, as I say, building judicial institutions, judicial training. In other instances, they assist in penal reform, in law enforcement training issues. In other instances, they serve as police monitors. In other words, they are out there working with local cops on the beat, but not playing law enforcement roles as much as a monitoring and training role. And then in a few instances, they actually are asked to play law enforcement and policing roles, where there is no indigenous capacity. As I was talking about before, that was the case in East Timor.

And right now, the need for these people currently is estimated about 9,000, given current peace operations. In the United States -- European countries have national police forces so they can sort of -- it is easier for them to pull from a list of volunteers who are prepared to go forward. In our case, we don't have a national police force. So whatever system we use, we are using, essentially, volunteers from local forces. And that is a challenge for us. But when Randy talks about a list, we are not talking about a permanent force of any kind. We are talking about basically a list that we can - - where people have volunteered to participate, and from which we could draw, but here we're talking about individuals.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: It's a standby pool; it's not a standing force. It's a very important distinction.

QUESTION: Randy, basically -- and I think this may have been slightly answered here -- are these people existing US policemen, like it would be New York City policemen who would volunteer? Or are they retired policemen? Oftentimes, these operations are led by retired police officials. Where do you exactly expect to get the people? Are they current, are they active -- the 2,000 people?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: The pool that we have drawn from to date is roughly the pool that we would continue to expect to draw from. And it includes individuals who are on active duty in state and local police organizations currently, who take leave of absence in order to participate in this activity, or recently retired.

We have set a parameter of three years, no more than three years from active duty. Obviously, they all have to be in good physical condition in order to pursue these kinds of activities, and we ask that they have roughly eight or more years of police experience in order to be considered as part of the pool. So that is the general group of people.

Now, this would permit -- would permit -- federal law enforcement agents also to become involved in these kinds of activities. We haven't really done that in any way heretofore, except on very seldom, case-by-case bases. This may be an additional part of the pool. We have to finish working out all of those arrangements. They have not been finalized. That will be part of the process that will come out of this Presidential Decision Directive.

QUESTION: Could you talk a bit about the Justice part of this, please? I mean, are you going to have a standby force of lawyers and judges who will have been vetted, who go to do this, or will the police be expected to also serve this function?

MR. McATAMNEY: The Justice Department already participates worldwide in training police, in training prosecutors, in training judges, in assisting prison professionals in doing their types of functions. So this is an extension of what the Justice Department is already involved in. We work very cooperatively with both the US Agency for International Development and State in coming up with these plans on a day-to-day basis in many countries around the world.

In these contingency operations, this is an effort to have a better planning capability up front before the event, so that when we identify -- or the UN identifies -- the particular mission that is going to be engaged in, then we will have a plan to go in. We have identified people ahead of time who would be volunteers, essentially, as Randy said. And then we could go ahead and execute whatever training is required in that particular situation.

QUESTION: So these are lawyers or judges who would be going in?

MR. McATAMNEY: They could be lawyers, they could be judges. Currently the Department of Justice, as I said, has programs where we avail ourselves of local and state US Attorneys Offices, District Attorneys Offices, private practitioners; American Bar Association is a participant in some respects. So they would be professionals, as well as police.

Within the Department of Justice, we have two entities principally. One is the Overseas Prosecutorial Development and Training Program, which focuses on the judicial side of prosecutors and judges; and then we have another organization that focuses on training police, and both of those would be brought to the table in this undertaking.

QUESTION: General Clark said the other day there is -- I believe the word he used was "devastating" -- devastating shortage of European police available for duty in the Balkans, and this is one of the reasons why we still have something like 12,000 American troops in Bosnia and Kosovo even though, you know, the bombs have stopped falling and so forth. There are no police to replace the American troops who are there essentially performing police functions.

Is it possible that this would be one way that the US could reduce the number of military personnel in both of these areas?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: I would concur with General Clark's concern about the lack of police. I don't want to point any fingers at any particular country, but in Kosovo the authorized civilian police level is 4,718; the deployed level is 2,315. So you can see that we're talking about less than 50 percent of the authorized level. I'll let Jim talk about the specifics of the tradeoff between military and police.

AMBASSADOR PARDEW: I would say there is 2,300 there. There are more on the way. I mean, clearly we need more police in Kosovo -- General Clark is right -- but we do have more coming. I think there will be another 50 deployed US police this weekend. That will bring our total to 550.

But the police structure in Kosovo, as in other places, is one component of a large security structure that consists of the military, the police and then the local police. And in a case like Kosovo, there were no local police. So we're having to build them from scratch -- and we're doing that. The school is up and running. We're turning out police. We've had two classes and a third ongoing right now. We want to accelerate that process.

But, yes, we don't think that it's appropriate for the military to be performing police tasks; and that is why we have a sense of urgency here about building a structure and encouraging others to come in and, as quickly as possible, respond to these requirements for police, so that our military do not have to do that.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: And we are working heavily with the UN to get other nation-states to make comparable contributions in the police side to the effort in Kosovo.

QUESTION: Mitrovica was mentioned as sort of the most recent example of something that's been affected by this. How much of a difference, really, would a full police deployment have made in a situation like Mitrovica, which was explosive pretty much on its own?

AMBASSADOR PARDEW: Well, we had a number of police there, but over the weekend they were faced with, depending on whose estimate you're talking about, 25,000 to 45,000 demonstrators. I mean, the police force that was in Mitrovica over the weekend was not prepared for that kind of a confrontation, and so KFOR assisted them. So when you get to some of these larger things, I suspect that we would have to have military backup. But the first line for civil policing should be the CIVPOL.

Now, again, UNMIK has committed to increase the police. We expect to have upwards of 600 of CIVPOL in Mitrovica, again, over the next few days. So UNMIK is dramatically increasing the police presence there from the resources that they had. We're encouraging others to contribute to this. In the meantime, General Clark is asking for augmentation for the military. As I said, this is a complete package. You can't pull these each individually out. And so we are increasing the general level of security in Mitrovica.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: Let me just finish up on this. This is the Kosovo-specific answer, but this is the generic point: There are civilian police and local police in their community policing role; there are special police who would do kinds of crowd control where they had sufficient force in order to handle that as a police situation; but, in the most threatening environments, that has to be linked to a military police-keeping force, so that they all work together in a spectrum of response capabilities.

And as Jim said, in the case of Mitrovica, the local police element that was deployed there would not -- is not -- adequate to the kinds of tasks that they were asked. And that's why it all has to fit together, but there has to be the police part of it.

QUESTION: I'm very confused because I thought, in answer to my first question, that you said that this did not create a new force, then you say that you envision having a pool of 2,000 people. So if that's not creating a new force or a new pool to draw on -- and the other thing is I don't see that mentioned in this at all. Is that part of this Directive or is that something else?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: The specific size of --

QUESTION: No, a pool of -- anything.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: It talks about creating a standby capability. Yes, that's part of this. And I don't consider a pool a force. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to mislead you.

QUESTION: Well, I think that's what you're going to see in every story that's written about this.

Anyway, the other thing is that in this pool force, this strikes me as being kind of -- people who can -- who would be able to get in there very quick-notice. And building on Betsy's question earlier, I mean, are we talking about crack teams of paratroop lawyers that are going to go parachute themselves into places to -- are they going to be part of this pool of 2,000, or is the 2,000 only active and recently retired police officers?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: With respect to the description of what we're talking about as a standby pool, I was referring to police. With respect to a much smaller requirement for lawyers and judges, we're working with the Justice Department and AID to figure out how that could happen.

But I will also be very candid in this situation. That is not as rapidly a deployment requirement. That is not as rapid a deployment requirement as the requirement to try to have a police capability that can match a military deployment capability in these kinds of situations.

QUESTION: But wasn't one of the big problems in Kosovo the fact that, I mean, there are a number of police, obviously not enough, but they're arresting people but there isn't a judicial framework to handle it.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: That is absolutely the point.

QUESTION: They're having to let these people who were arrested out of prison.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: That's absolutely the point.

QUESTION: So I don't understand why that's not the same priority.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: You asked me what the deployment requirement rate was. I'm simply commenting, relative to one another. I am not meaning in any way to diminish the requirement that this is a full spectrum strengthening of judicial institutions, from police in the street to prosecutors and judges, to penal institutions that can take care of individuals who are convicted of crimes. It refers to the whole thing.

If you want to talk about deployment order, if you want to talk about it in the military sense, who do you put on the first wave? I'm simply making that distinction.

QUESTION: So the commando lawyer squads might come later on?


MR. FOLEY: You know, I think we've exhausted this. Is there a question here?

QUESTION: How much a role really the UN will play? And, also, where do China and Russia stand? Are they willing to pull in, given their demand for the new -- this military -- I mean, new police? And the badges these new police will carry -- the UN or the original countries?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: This is not going to change the way in which individuals are deployed. Russia and China participated in all of the UN discussions that I have participated in which have talked about these problems. These are generic problems that the UN countries as a whole all recognize. And what we're talking about here is working with the UN and member states, in order to produce what they all agree is something that we need.

QUESTION: What particular UN modality will this be a part of? And, second question, what screening procedures will you be using for the police who will be recruited for this?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BEERS: The office that this effort relates to is the peacekeeping office in the UN, which is headed by Ambassador Miyet. It is the office the Kofi Annan headed at an earlier point in his UN career. These individuals will be reviewed for their past experience in the way that a normal job application for somebody who is purporting to be a police official would be reviewed. They are being expected to perform police functions; we expect them to present credentials that would accord with that.

MR. FOLEY:Thank you very much.