Truth, justice, and coping with atrocities
Legal scholar Beth Van Schaack is tapped for a State Department post tackling war crimes—from Cambodia to the former Yugoslavia.
In March, Professor of International Law Beth Van Schaack took on new responsibilities outside the classroom: as deputy to the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes, Stephen Rapp. In her new position, Van Schaack will be part of the team advising Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on responses to atrocities committed throughout the world.
Van Schaack’s portfolio includes working with international tribunals, nongovernment organizations, and foreign governments to ensure accountability for international crimes. That also entails support for hybrid courts trying persons responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity committed in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia. Her state department appointment will extend for up to two years; she is on leave of absence from SCU while serving in Washington.
Last year, the more than 15 years of work Van Schaack has done with Cambodia yielded a new book that she co-edited, Cambodia’s Hidden Scars. Published by The Documentation Center of Cambodia, the volume looks at ways that the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia can better accommodate witnesses who are traumatized by the horrific crimes in that nation’s past.
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