REP. LIEU LEADS 30 MEMBER LETTER URGING TILLERSON NOT TO CLOSE WAR CRIMES OFFICE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | Los Angeles County) sent a letter, signed by 30 Members of Congress, to Secretary Tillerson in response to disturbing reports that the State Department is preparing to close its Office of Global Criminal Justice (GCJ), the sole office in the United States Government dedicated exclusively to the prevention of atrocities and holding war criminals to account.
In the letter, Rep. Lieu and Members write:
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”