John H.F. Shattuck

Interview conducted 7 April 2015 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by David P. Briand and Leigh Swigart.

portrait of john h.f. shattuckBackground

Interview Content

In this interview, John H.F. Shattuck Shattuck reminisces about the evolution of the Clinton administration response to violence in the Balkans after the breakup of Yugoslavia; the selection of Richard J. Goldstone as International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) prosecutor; the experiences on the ground in Bosnia and Rwanda; the debate over use of the term "genocide" within the State Department regarding Bosnia and Rwanda; the impact of reports on Bosnia and Rwanda; and negotiations with Paul Kagame in setting up the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

He discusses the "human rights wars" of the 1990s; compares the ICTY and ICTR; discusses the effectiveness of tribunals and truth commissions; and reflects on the work of the ICTY, the ICTR and the International Criminal Court, and international criminal justice more generally.

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Biographical Information

John H. F. Shattuck served as assistant secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor under President Clinton from 1993 to 1998. He played a major role in the establishment by the United Nations of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, and helped to negotiate the Dayton Peace Agreement and other efforts to end the war in Bosnia. Subsequently, he served as U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic, working with the Czech government to assist in overhauling the country’s legal system, and with Czech educators to support innovative civic education programs in the country’s schools and universities.

In recognition of his human rights leadership, Shattuck has received the International Human Rights Award from the United Nations Association of Boston; the Ambassador's Award from the American Bar Association Central and East European Law Initiative; and the Tufts University Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award. Prior to his government service, Shattuck was a vice president at Harvard University, taught at Harvard Law School and was a research associate at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He is currently president of Central European University in Budapest.