Larry D. Johnson

Chief of Staff to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, UN Protection Force in the former Yugoslavia, 1994; member of the team that drafted the Statute for International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, 1993; Chef de Cabinet, Office of the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, 2003-2005


An interview with Larry D. Johnson, conducted on 18 February 2015 in New York City by David P. Briand and Leigh Swigart.

Access the full transcript of the interview here

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Please use the following citation format: Oral History Interview with Larry D. Johnson (2015), Ad Hoc Tribunals Oral History Project, pages XX, International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University.

Interview content

In this interview, Mr. Johnson reminisces about his work on the UN team that drafted the statute for ICTY; the UN's handling of challenges and other issues as the Ad Hoc Tribunals began to do their work; experience in UNPROFOR (UN Protection Force) in Zagreb; negotiations with Radovan Karadžić over planes flying into the territory; his experience as Chef de Cabinet under ICTY President Theodor Meron. He discusses differences between the statutes of the ICTY and ICTR and the impact of these differences on the jurisprudence of the Tribunals; the debate over the authority of the Security Council to establish the ICTY; reconciliation measures taken by the Ad Hoc Tribunals; why the Ad Hoc Tribunals have continued for so long; political issues in the UN in dealing with international criminal tribunals generally; the legacy of Nuremberg; the legacy of the Ad Hoc Tribunals.

Biographical information

Larry D. Johnson has served in numerous capacities related to international law and relations at the United Nations. He helped to draft the statutes of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (1993) and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (2006).  He later served as Chef de Cabinet in the Office of the ICTY President in The Hague (2003-2005).  In 2006-2008, Mr. Johnson served as the United Nations Assistant-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs (Deputy Legal Counsel of the UN).  Recently, Mr. Johnson has had special assignments from the United Nations, including: member of the Secretary-General’s 2009 Headquarters Board of Inquiry into certain incidents in Gaza involving damage to UN property or injury to persons on UN property during the conflict; and representing the Secretary-General during the testimony of UN officials during the Lubanga and Katanga trials at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Mr. Johnson is currently Adjunct Professor of Law at the Columbia University School of Law.