POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—Stephen J. Rapp, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, will speak about achieving justice for victims of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity on Tuesday, March 1 at 5:30pm in the Sanders Classroom Building Spitzer Auditorium (room 212). Touching upon his personal experiences as a special prosecutor in Sierra Leone and Rwanda, Ambassador Rapp will examine ways that nations are trying to bring war criminals to justice and deter such crimes in the future. His presentation is the history department’s annual C. Mildred Thompson Lecture, which is free and open to the public.U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Stephen J. Rapp will discuss bringing war criminals to justice on March 1, 2011.
Rapp was appointed Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues by President Obama in 2009. Prior he served as Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone beginning in January 2007, leading the prosecutions of former Liberian President Charles Taylor and other persons alleged to bear the greatest responsibility for the atrocities committed during the civil war in Sierra Leone. During his tenure, his office achieved the first convictions in history for sexual slavery and forced marriage as crimes against humanity. Convictions were also secured for attacks on peacekeepers and for recruitment and use of child soldiers as violations of international humanitarian law.
Ambassador Rapp had already brought about a history-making war crime conviction when he served as Senior Trial Attorney and Chief of Prosecutions at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (2001-2007). Rapp personally headed the trial team that convicted the nation’s RTLM radio and Kangura newspaper for direct and public incitement to commit genocide -- the first ever such conviction for leaders of the mass media.
Earlier Rapp was U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Iowa (1993-2001), where his office won groundbreaking convictions under the firearms provision of the Violence Against Women Act and the serious violent offender provision of the 1994 Crime Act. Before serving as a U.S. Attorney, Rapp worked in private practice, served as Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency, and was elected to the Iowa Legislature. He earned his BA degree from Harvard College in 1971, then attended law school at Columbia and Drake universities, eventually receiving his JD degree from Drake in 1974.
The C. Mildred Thompson Lecture honors a Vassar alumna who went on be a professor of history and dean at her alma mater.
Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations at Vassar should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the Vassar campus are available at www.vassar.edu/directions.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.