David John Scheffer
David John Scheffer was nominated by President Bill Clinton to serve as the first-ever Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues on May 22, 1997. Following Senate confirmation, he was sworn into office on August 5, 1997. The appointment carries an Ambassadorial rank.
This newly created post addresses serious violations of international humanitarian law anywhere in the world. Ambassador Scheffer coordinates support for the functions of the Yugoslav and Rwandan War Crimes Tribunals, heads the Atrocities Prevention Inter-Agency Working Group, and leads U.S. participation in UN negotiations for the establishment of a permanent International Criminal Court. He also coordinates U.S. efforts to establish international records and/or mechanisms of accountability for past or on-going violations of international humanitarian law in conflict areas, and assists Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in addressing the needs of victims of such atrocities. Ambassador Scheffer reports directly to Secretary Albright.
During the first term of the Clinton Administration, Ambassador Scheffer was Senior Advisor and Counsel to then-Ambassador Albright. His duties included war crimes issues and national security and peacekeeping policies. He also served as the Washington representative of the U.S. Mission to the UN on the Deputies Committee of the National Security Council and the Alternative Representative on the United States delegation to the UN talks on the proposal for a permanent International Criminal Court.
Until 1997, Ambassador Scheffer was an Adjunct Professor of International Law at Georgetown University Law Center. He has lectured and written extensively on international affairs and law while serving in various capacities at numerous academic and policy-making institutions including -- Senior Associate in International and National Security Law at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1989-1992); Senior Consultant on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives (1987-1989); International Affairs Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations (1986-1987); Adjunct Professor at Columbia University (1986-1987) and Research Associate at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (1983-1984). Ambassador Scheffer also worked in the private sector as an attorney in the international law firm of Coudert Brothers from 1979-1986.
A native of Oklahoma, Ambassador Scheffer is a graduate of Harvard College and Oxford University where he was a Knox Fellow, as well as Georgetown University Law Center. He is a member of both the New York and Washington, DC Bars. Ambassador Scheffer is married and has two children.
Released by the Office of War Crimes Issues on May 15, 2000.