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Ambassador David J. Scheffer

Tom A. Bernstein Genocide Prevention Fellow

September 1, 2020–April 30, 2021

Ambassador David J. Scheffer served as the former Director of the Center for International Human Rights (2006–2019) at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and is currently the University’s Mayer Brown / Robert A. Helman Professor of Law. From 1993–1997, he served on the National Security Council’s Deputies Committee, and in 1997, he was appointed the first US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues and led the US delegation to the United Nations (UN) which established the International Criminal Court. From 2012–2018, he served as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Expert on UN Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials.

Fellowship Project

Ambassador Scheffer examined innovative funding mechanisms to support the reparative needs of victims of mass atrocity crimes. Funding to support victims has always been insufficient, and with the global pandemic, funding shortages worsened. Ambassador Scheffer’s research project is based on the premise that understanding the needs of victims of genocide and related crimes against humanity cannot be forgotten or overlooked, even during times of global upheaval, and that we must identify creative mechanisms to fill funding gaps left by governments and traditional funding instruments. 

During his fellowship, Ambassador Scheffer prepared a detailed research report examining how significant funds for victims of mass atrocities can be raised. By exploring a novel financial instrument to fund reparative justice, Ambassador Scheffer’s research will broaden the options available for governments and other stakeholders to aid these victims.