The Office of Global Criminal Justice, headed by Ambassador-at-Large Stephen J. Rapp with Deputy Beth Van Schaack, advises the Secretary of State and the Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights on issues related to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. In particular, the office helps formulate U.S. policy on the prevention of, responses to, and accountability for mass atrocities. To this end, the office advises U.S. Government and foreign governments on the appropriate use of a wide range of transitional justice mechanisms, including truth and reconciliation commissions, lustrations, and reparations in addition to judicial processes.
The office also coordinates U.S. Government positions relating to the international and hybrid courts currently prosecuting persons responsible for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity – not only for such crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia – but also in Kenya, Libya, Côte d'Ivoire, Guatemala, and elsewhere in the world. The office works closely with other governments, international institutions, and non-governmental organizations to establish and assist international and domestic commissions of inquiry, fact-finding missions, and tribunals to investigate, document, and prosecute atrocities in every region of the globe. The Ambassador-at-Large coordinates the deployment of a range of diplomatic, legal, economic, military, and intelligence tools to help expose the truth, judge those responsible, protect and assist victims, enable reconciliation, deter atrocities, and build the rule of law.
In the words of the President’s May 2010 National Security Strategy:
From Nuremberg to Yugoslavia to Liberia, the United States has seen that the end of impunity and the promotion of justice are not just moral imperatives; they are stabilizing forces in international affairs. The United States is thus working to strengthen national justice systems and is maintaining our support for ad hoc international tribunals and hybrid courts. Those who intentionally target innocent civilians must be held accountable, and we will continue to support institutions and prosecutions that advance this important interest. Although the United States is not at present a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and will always protect U.S. personnel, we are engaging with State Parties to the Rome Statute on issues of concern and are supporting the ICC’s prosecution of those cases that advance U.S. interests and values, consistent with the requirements of U.S. law.