John H.F. Shattuck

Assistant United States Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, 1993-1998


An interview with John Shattuck, conducted on 7 April 2015 in Cambridge, Massachusetts by David P. Briand and Leigh Swigart.

Access the full transcript of the interview here.

Go to the Brandeis Institutional Repository to conduct a keyword search across the entire Ad Hoc Tribunals Oral History collection.

Please use the following citation format: Oral History Interview with John Shattuck (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. 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 ICTY prosecutor; the experiences on the ground in Bosnia and Rwanda; the debate over use of the term "genocide" within State Department regarding Bosnia and Rwanda; the impact of reports on Bosnia and Rwanda; and negotiations with Paul Kagame in setting up the 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 ICTR, ICTR, and ICC, and international criminal justice more generally.

Biographical information

John H. F. Shattuck served as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor under US 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 US 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, Mr. 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, Mr. Shattuck was a Vice-President at Harvard University, taught at the Harvard Law School, and was a Research Associate at the Kennedy School of Government. He is currently President of the Central European University in Budapest.