Stanford Law’s Beth Van Schaack Tapped for Biden’s State Department

Beth Van Schaack, the Leah Kaplan Visiting Professor in Human Rights at Stanford Law School and faculty affiliate at Stanford’s Center for Human Rights & International Justice, was nominated by President Joe Biden to serve as Ambassador at Large for Global Criminal Justice at the U.S. Department of State. 

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Before joining Stanford Law in 2014, Van Schaack was the Deputy to the Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues in the Office of Global Criminal Justice of the U.S. Department of State under President Barack Obama. In that position, she advised the Secretary of State and the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights on issues related to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. In addition, Van Schaack helped to formulate U.S. policy on the prevention of, responses to, and accountability for mass atrocities, counseled U.S. and foreign governments on the appropriate use of transitional justice mechanisms, and coordinated U.S. government positions relating to international and hybrid courts.

Prior to her State Department appointment, Van Schaack was a professor of law at Santa Clara University School of Law, where she taught and wrote in the areas of human rights, transitional justice, international criminal law, public international law, international humanitarian law, and civil procedure. She has been a member of the U.S. Department of State’s Advisory Council on International Law and served on the United States inter-agency delegation to the International Criminal Court Review Conference in Kampala, Uganda in 2010.

Van Schaack also spent time in private practice at Morrison & Foerster LLP where she practiced in the areas of commercial law, intellectual property, international law, and human rights. She also was Acting Executive Director and Staff Attorney with The Center for Justice & Accountability, a non-profit law firm in San Francisco dedicated to the representation of victims of torture and other grave human rights abuses in U.S., international, and foreign tribunals. 

Van Schaack was also a law clerk with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. She is a graduate of Stanford University (B.A.), Yale Law School (J.D.), and Leiden University (PhD).

About Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective, and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.