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Legislators Send Letter Urging Tillerson to Preserve War Crimes Office

Image: Legislators Send Letter Urging Tillerson to Preserve War Crimes Office
(AP)

By    |   Thursday, 27 Jul 2017 01:21 PM

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson received a letter on Thursday from 30 members of Congress, led by Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., pressing him to not close the Office of Global Criminal Justice, which focuses on war crimes and other atrocities.

"If true, these reports indicate that your office has made the decision to dismantle the Department's primary repository of technical expertise related to war crimes and crimes against humanity, even before the conclusion of your ongoing organizational review.

"This decision would send the message that the Department of State is de-prioritizing human rights and the rule of law," Lieu and the others wrote.

"Among other achievements, GCJ obtained and helped authenticate the famed ‘Caesar photos' documenting atrocities committed by the Assad regime in Syria; coordinated the State Department's financial and political support for an African Union court investigating those responsible for crimes in South Sudan; and advised foreign governments on transitional justice from Rwanda to Colombia to Sri Lanka."

Foreign Policy reported in mid-July that Tillerson had informed the office's head, Todd Buchwald, that he would be reassigned to another position in the State Department. Other staffers would be reassigned to the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

"Closing this office would unilaterally degrade the U.S. Government's knowledge base on criminal accountability at a time when we are witnessing some of the worst war crimes and crimes against humanity in a generation. From bringing Syria's Assad to justice to addressing mass rape in the Central African Republican, it is the GCJ that stands ready to design a legally-sound international tribunal based on best practices."

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson received a letter on Thursday from 30 members of Congress, led by Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., pressing him to not close the Office of Global Criminal Justice...
legislators, tillerson, preserve, war crimes, division
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2017-21-27
Thursday, 27 Jul 2017 01:21 PM
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