Our own Beth Van Schaack (right), an IntLawGrrls founding editor and contributor, will become the Deputy to the U.S. Ambassador-At-Large for War Crimes Issues later this month!
Professor of Law at California's Santa Clara University School of Law, Beth will take a leave of absence to serve as the Deputy to Ambassador Stephen Rapp. As we've posted, Rapp has served as the top State Department official on war crimes issues since September 2009. Before that he'd been Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and senior trial counsel for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Succeeding the previous Deputy – IntLawGrrls contributor Diane Orentlicher, who has returned to her professorship at American University Washington College of Law – Beth will help run the State Department's Office of Global Criminal Justice. Formerly called the Office of War Crimes Issues, this office advises Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and, through the inter-agency process, helps formulate U.S. responses to atrocities committed throughout the world.
Beth's portfolio will include working with international tribunals, NGOs, and foreign governments to ensure accountability for international crimes, via transitional justice mechanisms that include not only prosecutions, but also truth commissions and commissions of inquiry.
Can't imagine anyone more qualified for this important position.
As well demonstrated by her many, many prior IntLawGrrls posts – of special note, her series on the crime of aggression and her recent observation of military commissions proceedings at Guantánamo – Beth is an internationally recognized expert in international law. She holds academic and practical experience in subfields most relevant to her new post: international criminal law, international humanitarian law/law of armed conflict, and transitional justice.
Her publications include many law review articles, as well as books like International Criminal Law and Its Enforcement, a Foundation Press casebook coauthored with Ron Slye and now in its 2d edition, and Bringing the Khmer Rouge to Justice: Prosecuting Mass Violence Before the Cambodian Courts (2005), co-edited with another IntLawGrrl founding editor and contributor, Jaya Ramji-Nogales.
In summer 2010, Beth served as Academic Advisor to the United States' interagency delegation, led by Ambassador Rapp and State Department Legal Adviser Harold Koh, to the International Criminal Court Review Conference in Kampala, Uganda.
Beth's engagement with the ICC dates to its founding: After attending Preparatory Committee meetings in New York, Beth managed a team of 10 lawyers and law students who attended the 1998 Rome Conference where the ICC treaty was adopted. As an observer or NGO delegate, she's also attended sessions of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, as well as meetings of other U.N. bodies.
Beth earned her bachelor's degree from Stanford University and her J.D. from Yale Law School. Thereafter, she clerked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and was an Open Society Institute Justice Fellow. She served as Executive Director and as a Staff Attorney at the San Francisco-based Center for Justice & Accountability, which litigates human rights cases. From 1995 onwards, she has served as a Legal Advisor to the Documentation Center of Cambodia. At Santa Clara, she hosted an annual workshop in international humanitarian law along with the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Beth joined the Santa Clara law faculty following private practice with Morrison & Forester LLP, where she practiced in the area of commercial law, international law, and human rights. She was trial counsel for Romagoza v. Garcia, a human rights case that resulted in a plaintiffs' award of $54.6 million, and on the defense team for John Walker Lindh.
We at IntLawGrrls will miss her frequent contributions and unflagging support – even as we send her our very best heartfelt congratulations on her move to Foggy Bottom!