Tillerson's State Department Reorganization Could Affect the Work of War Crimes Office

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is consolidating the department's office responsible for bringing foreign war criminals to justice, former U.S. officials told reporters earlier this week.Critics say that demoting the Office of Global Criminal Justice, as it is formally known, shows the new administration' disregard for humanitarian issues abroad and would impede the department’s ability to publicly hold offenders accountable.The Texan's office reached out to Todd Buchwald, the special coordinator at the war crimes office, about reassignments, a former official told reporters. Buchwald would go to the department’s office of legal affairs, and the rest of his staff to the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, the former official said.But in a statement to The New York Times, a spokeswoman for the State Department said that Tillerson had not made any conclusive decisions.“There are no predetermined outcomes,” the spokeswoman said. “We want to make sure that the responsibility for an issue is appropriately placed and aligned with the resources it needs to meet its mission.”Tillerson has pursued a comprehensive review to make the department more efficient, a testament to his private sector background as Exxon Mobil’s CEO, and President Trump budget proposal includes reducing the department’s budget by nearly a third. The war crimes office has about a dozen employees and a budget of about $3 million, according to the The Times. The changes come amidst continued internal turmoil in the State Department. An employee satisfaction survey showed extremely low confidence among State Department officials on the competence of their leadership and the direction of the agency’s goals.  Continue reading...

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