The Department of State’s Office of War Crimes Issues advises the Secretary of State and formulates U.S. policy responses to atrocities committed worldwide. It also coordinates U.S. government support for war crimes accountability in Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, Iraq, and other regions. The office works closely with other governments, international institutions, non-government organizations, and the courts to help bring those responsible for war crimes to justice. The Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues has a range of diplomatic, legal, economic, military, and intelligence tools at their disposal to help secure peace and stability, ensure accountability, and establish the rule of law.
From 1991 to 1995, the former Yugoslavia witnessed its worst warfare since World War II. Ethnic conflict broke out across the region, and horrible massacres destroyed whole villages and communities. In response, the UN established the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, located in The Hague, Netherlands. This tribunal has authority to prosecute individuals for violations of international humanitarian law committed in the former Yugoslavia since 1991. The U.S. government supported the establishment of the tribunal and the prosecution of war criminals.