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All the Missing Souls

All the Missing Souls: A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals

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    All the Missing Souls
    Book Description:

    Within days of Madeleine Albright's confirmation as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 1993, she instructed David Scheffer to spearhead the historic mission to create a war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. As senior adviser to Albright and then as President Clinton's ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues, Scheffer was at the forefront of the efforts that led to criminal tribunals for the Balkans, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia, and that resulted in the creation of the permanent International Criminal Court.All the Missing Soulsis Scheffer's gripping insider's account of the international gamble to prosecute those responsible for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, and to redress some of the bloodiest human rights atrocities in our time.

    Scheffer reveals the truth behind Washington's failures during the 1994 Rwandan genocide and the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, the anemic hunt for notorious war criminals, how American exceptionalism undercut his diplomacy, and the perilous quests for accountability in Kosovo and Cambodia. He takes readers from the killing fields of Sierra Leone to the political back rooms of the U.N. Security Council, providing candid portraits of major figures such as Madeleine Albright, Anthony Lake, Richard Goldstone, Louise Arbour, Samuel "Sandy" Berger, Richard Holbrooke, and Wesley Clark, among others.

    A stirring personal account of an important historical chapter,All the Missing Soulsprovides new insights into the continuing struggle for international justice.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3948-3
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

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    (pp. 1-12)

    Isaiah prophesied, “And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of man shall be made low.”¹ That prediction bore truth in my lifetime and on my watch.

    I recall Freetown, Sierra Leone, in February 1999. A teenage girl named Nancy lay before me in the shade of a small overcrowded hospital where mutilated victims, some only children, waited for miracles that never arrived. Their bodies were grotesquely disfigured. Nancy, in shock, remained mute. Drug-crazed rebel boys had brutally gang-raped her and poured molten plastic into her eyes during their rampage through the city. For me, Nancy’s...

  2. PART I

      (pp. 15-44)

      In the beginning there was no grand design to build a series of war crimes tribunals culminating in a permanent international criminal court. No one could foresee that there would be enough slaughter of innocents in the 1990s to beckon forth judges and prosecutors for atrocity crimes trials in courts scattered across the globe. But the atrocities in the Balkans in 1991 and 1992 prompted a reckoning for the perpetrators of the ethnic cleansing, killings, and abusive detentions in that region.

      Within the relatively short span of eighteen months, beginning with the Serbs’ siege of Vukovar, Croatia, in August 1991,...

      (pp. 45-68)

      The visitor to Rwanda marvels at the beauty of its endless tree-covered hills before pausing at fields of wooden crosses—thousands of sticks nailed or lashed together to mark the graves of the genocide victims of 1994. I visited such makeshift cemeteries often during my journeys to Rwanda. I always found survivors nearby. Each had a different story of escape, but one common thread wove them together: their families occupied the gravesites before me. At the Ntarama church in central Rwanda, hundreds of Tutsi bones and pieces of bloody clothing lay undisturbed as an open grave site among the shattered...

      (pp. 69-86)

      In the aftermath of the genocide that ravaged Rwanda, there had to be a judicial response at least as credible as that which the Balkans atrocities had inspired with the Yugoslav Tribunal. Thanks in large measure to Albright’s leadership at the time, serious planning for building a war crimes tribunal for Rwanda commenced in mid-June 1994 as the genocide gave way to the overpowering victories of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). The highly trained and disciplined RPF militia, led by Paul Kagame, steadily defeated Hutu army units and seized territory. By July, the RPF controlled the capital of Kigali and...

      (pp. 87-107)

      As the Yugoslav Tribunal grew from an idea in 1993 to an operating court issuing its first indictment in 1994 and finally to a trial court in 1995, the war and its associated atrocity crimes ground on mercilessly. The tribunal coexisted with the relentless criminal assaults on civilians and prisoners of war that defined the Balkans conflagration. Military strategizing had little to do with justice other than to recognize its potential once the fighting was over and the shattered nations and peoples of the former Yugoslavia could begin the long journey, still unfinished, toward restoration and reconciliation. One can easily...

      (pp. 108-123)

      The early years of the Rwanda Tribunal were chaotic and full of uncertainty as to whether international justice would prevail for the victims of the 1994 genocide. Corruption within the tribunal’s ranks was a pervasive problem that occupied more of my time than practically any other of the tribunal’s issues. But that story need not be related here. Ultimately, incompetent or corrupt tribunal staffers were sidelined, and the court got on with the business of investigating and prosecuting genocide suspects. The seemingly insoluble issues rested elsewhere. Would genocidaires hiding in the refugee camps be detained, and would indicted fugitives be...

      (pp. 124-160)

      For more than five years, from the summer of 1995 until I left the State Department on the last day of the Clinton administration in January 2001, there was one high-profile challenge—the apprehension of indicted war criminals—that was excruciating to grapple with day after day. The future of the Yugoslav Tribunal sometimes hung in the balance, but more often the credibility of governments and armies committed to achieving peace in Bosnia suffered mightily in the years following the Dayton Peace Agreement. While arrest strategies were critical to the work of the Rwanda Tribunal and, after my own departure...

  3. PART II

      (pp. 163-198)

      The fate of the tribunals for the Balkans, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia is their temporary and limited jurisdiction. These courts were built as ad hoc judicial remedies for specific theaters of atrocity crimes committed during snapshots of time. They are each meant to close their doors soon, with their courtrooms and offices likely converted for regional justice or some other public endeavor. Years from now passersby may gaze upon the Aegon Insurance Building in The Hague and read a simple bronze plaque with these words: “Here justice was rendered by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, 1993–...

      (pp. 199-226)

      The diplomatic conference on the International Criminal Court convened in Rome on June 15, 1998, during a very hot summer in the largely non-air-conditioned and Mussolini-era Food and Agriculture Organization building. It faces Circus Maximus, an open field where once stood the largest chariot-racing stadium in ancient Rome. As I entered the FAO building for the first time, I wondered whether America would have the fastest chariot.

      I led the largest national delegation, which included lawyers and officials from all the relevant government agencies in Washington, most of whom had long worked with me in the United Nations talks leading...

      (pp. 227-248)

      During the flight home from Europe on July 19, 1998, I jotted down my reflections on what had gone wrong during the Rome negotiations on the International Criminal Court. One example stood out. At the height of the conference, a mysterious set of devastating “talking points” reportedly prepared for Defense Secretary William Cohen landed in the lap of theNew York Times.¹ The Pentagon denied any knowledge of the document, and its spokesman, Kenneth Bacon, said he believed it did not originate from within the Defense Department. But the talking points threatened that the United States might withdraw its troops...


      (pp. 251-295)

      More than two years after the Dayton Peace Agreement, when the atrocity crimes being investigated by the Yugoslav Tribunal were thought to have ceased, brutality swept over the landlocked Serbian province of Kosovo, which is located south of Bosnia and Herzegovina, east of Albania, and just north of Macedonia. For several years, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which was a guerrilla force of Kosovar-Albanians of Muslim faith dedicated to the liberation of the Kosovo province from the sovereignty of the Christian-dominated Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, had waged a violent campaign against Serb civilians and Serb government offices in Kosovo. The...

      (pp. 296-340)

      The trial of Charles Taylor, the charismatic and diabolical former president of Liberia, before the Special Court for Sierra Leone in recent years was the closing chapter of an eighteen-year journey: atrocity crimes in Sierra Leone stretching from 1991 to 2001, a flawed peace agreement in July 1999, negotiations that built the war crimes tribunal, and finally three joint trials and the Taylor case, which brought to justice men who had waged a uniquely evil assault on a forsaken people.

      Sierra Leone, a country about the size of South Carolina, lies on the western tip of northern Africa facing the...

      (pp. 341-406)

      International justice is the art of the possible, and nowhere was that demonstrated more profoundly than in Cambodia. Whenever impatience or frustration engulfed the Office of War Crimes Issues, I reminded all, “Welcome to my life with Cambodia.”

      My journey with Cambodia reaches back much further than anything I witnessed in the Balkans or Africa. As a high school and college student, I came of age with revelations about the secret bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War. Launched by President Richard Nixon and his top foreign policy official, Henry Kissinger, the B-52 strikes on eastern Cambodia inspired even stronger...

  5. PART IV

      (pp. 409-420)

      In November of 2009, I observed the closing arguments at the Cambodia Tribunal in the trial of Kaing Guek Eav, or “Duch,” the warden from Tuol Sleng Prison. I had last seen the auditorium on the outskirts of Phnom Penh being renovated in anticipation of the Cambodian trials several years earlier and wondered whether my vision of accountability for the senior Khmer Rouge leaders finally would come to pass. In the joust between justice and evil, which would prevail? Total accountability for the deaths of 1.7 million Cambodians would be impossible to achieve. But I hoped that Cambodia no longer...

      (pp. 421-440)

      Bonded together in a death grip during the 1990s were two phenomena that at first seemed beyond the will of humankind to defeat: the surge of atrocities and the impunity that shielded political and military leaders as they plotted Hell on earth. Neither reality disappeared on my watch. But they were boldly confronted in ways not seen since the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials by tribunals that challenged master criminals seeking to destroy the lives of millions in their pursuit of power and dominance. The atrocities erupted so rapidly and so furiously that everyone fumbled over what precisely to call the...

    (pp. 441-443)
    David Scheffer
  7. APPENDIX: Comparison of Modern War Crimes Tribunals
    (pp. 444-450)