Ambassador Clint Williamson, a Tulane law graduate, speaks to 69 Fulbright scholars representing 32 countries on Nov. 21 at the Louisiana Supreme Court. (Photo from the Louisiana Supreme Court)
The United States has grown less hostile toward the International Criminal Court but isn’t closer to coming under its jurisdiction, Ambassador Clint Williamson, a veteran war crimes investigator, told international Fulbright scholars gathered in New Orleans for a conference on the Rule of Law.
Williamson, a 1986 Tulane University Law School
graduate, said in answer to a Canadian Fulbright scholar’s question that U.S. officials worry there aren’t enough safeguards against “politically driven prosecutions against the U.S. because of the role it plays in the world.”
He said international justice isn’t “completely equitable,” but that “should be something that we strive for.”
The scholars were co-hosted by Tulane Law School, the New Orleans Citizen Diplomacy Council and the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The scholars, who are teaching and conducting research throughout the U.S., spent a day at Tulane discussing civil rights, legislative drafting and methods for dealing with public corruption.
Williamson, a former assistant district attorney in New Orleans and U.S. Justice Department prosecutor, was a trial attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, where he investigated and helped produce the first indictment against former Serbian and Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic.
Williamson has served as U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes and currently is lead prosecutor for the Brussels-based European Union Special Investigative Task Force, which is investigating allegations of atrocities in Kosovo.
He said the international tribunal met with skepticism when it was created 20 years ago as a new mechanism for achieving international justice, but its successes led to other war crimes tribunals in Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Cambodia, and to creation of the International Criminal Court, which went into effect in 2002.
The prospect of holding perpetrators of heinous crimes accountable is “no longer beyond the realm of imagination,” Williamson said.
Linda P. Campbell is director of communications for the Tulane Law School.