Stephen Rapp looks back on six years as US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes

09 September 2015 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Stephen Rapp told IJT that his office did everything they practically could do to ensure accountability in Syria by "documenting the heck" out of the atrocities that are being committed and collecting "irrefutable evidence". In one of his first interviews since stepping down last month as US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Rapp named the arrest of former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic as his finest moment in office.

Stephen Rapp speaking at a Coalition for the ICC event in 2013 (Photo: Flickr/CICC)
Image caption: 
Stephen Rapp speaking at a Coalition for the ICC event in 2013 (Photo: Flickr/CICC)

Looking back at your six years as the US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, what have been the highlights for you personally?

Stephen Rapp (SR): Probably the best moment was on May 26, 2011, when Ratko Mladic was arrested and shortly thereafter transferred to The Hague [IJT-130]. Achieving the arrest of fugitives of the tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda was the one of the reasons our office was established back in 1997. The arrest of Mladic and the arrest less than two months later of Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic [IJT-166] brought the ICTY to a perfect score in terms of resolving all 161 of its cases by the appearance of the accused.

You have waved off suggestions that you’ve quit in frustration, and while human rights organizations heap praise on you personally, they criticize the US for its lack of a consistent policy.

Want to read more?

If you subscribe to a free membership, you can read this article and explore our full archive, dating back to 1997.

Subscribe now

Related articles

article
21 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

Being the ICC's Chief Prosecutor is a delicate and politically sensitivejob.ForLuisMorenoOcampo it has been "the best job in the world." Fatou Bensouda will be taking over his office in June. She inhe

article
07 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

December 7, 2011 Ivory Coast is the latest playgroundoftheInternationalCriminal Court. This week the courtroom in The Hague became its theatre of justice. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo proudly p

article
07 December 2011 by Richard Walker

Four Congolese witnesses testifying at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, find themselves caught in a legal wrangle, which could at once set a legal precedent and make them the last

article
07 December 2011 by Lindy Janssen

Brazil is booming. The economy is expanding and the country is getting ready to host the Football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. But the Latin American giant has not even begun dealing wi

article
07 December 2011 by Radosa Milutinovic

The primary purpose of the retrial of Ramush Haradinaj, as proclaimed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in its appeal judgement in July, should have been to hear testimonies of two "key" witnesses who proved unwilling to testify in the original trial in 2007. Almost four months into the retrial which started in mid-August, its stated aim has not yet been achieved.