"We deal daily with the horrific handicraft of genocidaire, of torturers, of butchers, or of poorly trained soldiers who commit unjustified violence against civilians or abuse prisoners of war . . . At stake is not our freedom to conduct the just war justly, but the chance to save the lives of countless civilians and their means of shelter and livelihood from those whose pursuit of power knows no bounds.
The Office of War Crimes Issues (S/WCI) advises the Secretary of State directly on U.S. efforts to address serious violations of international humanitarian law committed anywhere in the world. These violations primarily concern large-scale atrocities including genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues coordinates U.S. support for the functions of the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and the creation and operation of other courts and judicial mechanisms to bring perpetrators of international humanitarian law to justice. The Office of War Crimes Issues works closely with other offices at the State Department, other U.S. Government agencies, foreign governments, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations on all of these projects.
As the special envoy on war crimes issues, the Ambassador-at-Large works with the United Nations in consultation with the U.S. Mission to the United Nations on a number of issues involving the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, the International Criminal Court, and other projects and initiatives, including judicial mechanisms for Sierra Leone, Cambodia, and East Timor.
The Ambassador-at-Large and staff make frequent trips overseas, including to The Hague, the Balkans, Africa, and Asia, meeting with high-ranking officials, to carry out U.S. government objectives for war crimes issues. Among other activities, the Ambassador-at-Large meets frequently with officials of the Tribunals and with victims of atrocities.