Beth Van Schaack

Position / Title: 
Affiliate Scholar
Contact: 
bethvs@stanford.edu

Beth Van Schaack is the Leah Kaplan Visiting Professor in Human Rights at Stanford Law School where she teaches in the areas of international human rights, international criminal law, and atrocities prevention. She recently stepped down as Deputy to the Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues in the Office of Global Criminal Justice of the U.S. Department of State. In that capacity, she helped to advise the Secretary of State and the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights on the formulation of U.S. policy regarding the prevention of and accountability for mass atrocities, such as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. This involved extensive work within the interagency to help coordinate the deployment of a range of diplomatic, legal, economic, military, and intelligence tools to help expose the truth, capture and judge those responsible, protect and assist victims, enable reconciliation, deter atrocities, and build the rule of law. She continues to serve as a Special Government Expert on the State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Law. At Stanford, she has also been a Visiting Scholar with the Center for International Security & Cooperation of the Freeman Spogli Institute.

Prior to her State Department appointment, Van Schaack was 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. In this capacity, she served as the Academic Adviser to the United States interagency delegation to the International Criminal Court Review Conference in Kampala, Uganda in 2010.

Van Schaack joined the Santa Clara faculty from private practice at Morrison & Foerster LLP where she practiced the areas of commercial law, intellectual property, international law, and human rights. Prior to entering private practice, Van Schaack 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. She was also a law clerk with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. She continues to advise a number of human rights organizations, including: the Documentation Center of Cambodia, the National Institute of Military Justice, the International Justice Resource Center, the Syrian Commission on Justice & Accountability, and Accountability Council.

Van Schaack is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School.