Cover image for All the missing souls a personal history of the war crimes tribunals
All the missing souls a personal history of the war crimes tribunals
Publication Information:
Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2012.

Physical Description:
x, 533 p.
Human rights and crimes against humanity
Introduction : ambassador to hell -- An echo of Nuremberg -- It's genocide, stupid -- Credible justice for Rwanda -- Abandoned at Srebrenica -- The pastor from Mugonero -- Unbearable timidity -- The siren of exceptionalism -- Futile endgame -- Rome's aftermath -- Crime scene Kosovo -- Freetown is burning -- The toughest cockfight -- No turning back -- Postscript on law, crimes, and impunity -- Comparison of modern war crimes tribunals.

Human rights and crimes against humanity.
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Material Type
Shelf Number
Ebook XX(1371941.1) 1
Ebook XX(1371941.2) 1

On Order



Within days of Madeleine Albright's confirmation as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 1993, she instructed David Scheffer to spearhead the historic mission to create a war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. As senior adviser to Albright and then as President Clinton's ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues, Scheffer was at the forefront of the efforts that led to criminal tribunals for the Balkans, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia, and that resulted in the creation of the permanent International Criminal Court. All the Missing Souls is Scheffer's gripping insider's account of the international gamble to prosecute those responsible for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, and to redress some of the bloodiest human rights atrocities in our time.

Scheffer reveals the truth behind Washington's failures during the 1994 Rwandan genocide and the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, the anemic hunt for notorious war criminals, how American exceptionalism undercut his diplomacy, and the perilous quests for accountability in Kosovo and Cambodia. He takes readers from the killing fields of Sierra Leone to the political back rooms of the U.N. Security Council, providing candid portraits of major figures such as Madeleine Albright, Anthony Lake, Richard Goldstone, Louise Arbour, Samuel "Sandy" Berger, Richard Holbrooke, and Wesley Clark, among others.

A stirring personal account of an important historical chapter, All the Missing Souls provides new insights into the continuing struggle for international justice.

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

A diplomat fights an uphill battle to bring the worst criminals to justice in this dogged memoir. Scheffer, U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes during the Clinton administration, recounts his efforts to establish U.N. war crimes tribunals to prosecute mass killings in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia. He had an insider's view of unfolding bloodbaths and provides anguished eyewitness testimony of victims' suffering and the Clinton administration's often feckless response. But mostly he describes his endless wrangling to set up the tribunals, a task that required delicate bargaining with U.N. potentates, Washington mandarins, shell-shocked postatrocity regimes, and the perpetrators themselves-all of whom had reason to sacrifice justice to self-interest and political expediency. (He's especially scathing on America's "exceptionalist" refusal to accept International Criminal Court jurisdiction over possible American war crimes.) Scheffer's narrative is an epic diplomatic history that's lucid but often eye-glazing in its detailed reconstructions of years-long negotiations and mulling of the niceties of international law. At times his memoir gives a sense of diplomats and jurists dithering uselessly amid hurricanes of violence, but in it we see the birth of a more responsible and civilized world order. 36 photos. Agent: (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Choice Review

Scheffer (director, Center for International Human Rights, Northwestern Univ.), who led US efforts to develop international criminal courts during the Clinton administration, has written a personal history of these efforts. He reviews complicated negotiations both within Washington and with other states. The first part of the story involves his attempts to overcome turf wars and partisan maneuvering as he mediated among various players within the Beltway. Then there were complex relations with Israel, Britain, France, Germany, and others. Scheffer shows that President Clinton was often disinterested in international criminal law, as was even Madeleine Albright, especially after she became secretary of state. Concerning the International Criminal Court, the Pentagon's insistence on absolute immunity for US personnel doomed any compromise position that might have allowed Washington to accept the court's statute. Scheffer includes a blistering attack on the policies of the George W. Bush administration concerning the abuse of terror suspects, noting that even those who authorized atrocities, like Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia, were afforded humane detention and interrogation while in UN custody awaiting trial. Full of exhaustive details, although not organized in chronological or systematic fashion, this book will be of great interest to specialists in the field. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate, research, and professional collections. D. P. Forsythe emeritus, University of Nebraska

Library Journal Review

Scheffer (law, Northwestern Univ.; director, Ctr. for International Human Rights) provides a fascinating insider's account of the formation of the war crimes tribunals following atrocities in the Balkans, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia. Appointed by President Clinton as ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues, Scheffer also served as senior adviser to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during this momentous period. He here describes the challenges of uncovering atrocities and holding perpetrators accountable through formal war crimes tribunals. What are the logistics, for instance, of arresting indicted war criminals such as Radovan Karadzic'? Scheffer chronicles in captivating detail the diplomatic and political minefields that he and his colleagues navigated to help establish the International Criminal Court. Additionally, this book includes a series of poignant photographs and comprehensive notes. Most impressive, though, is the appendix of charts that compare modern war crimes tribunals. VERDICT A superb account and unique perspective on the subject, complementing works such as Carla Del Ponte's Madame Prosecutor: Confrontations with Humanity's Worst Criminals and the Culture of Impunity.-Lynne F. Maxwell, Villanova Univ. Sch. of Law Lib., PA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Ambassador to Hellp. 1
Part I
Chapter 1 An Echo of Nurembergp. 15
Chapter 2 It's Genocide, Stupidp. 45
Chapter 3 Credible Justice for Rwandap. 69
Chapter 4 Abandoned at Srebrenicap. 87
Chapter 5 The Pastor from Mugonerop. 108
Chapter 6 Unbearable Timidityp. 124
Part II
Chapter 7 The Siren of Exceptionalismp. 163
Chapter 8 Futile Endgamep. 199
Chapter 9 Rome's Aftermathp. 227
Part III
Chapter 10 Crime Scene Kosovop. 251
Chapter 11 Freetown Is Burningp. 296
Chapter 12 The Toughest Cockfightp. 341
Part IV
Chapter 13 No Turning Backp. 409
Chapter 14 Postscript on Law, Crimes, and Impunityp. 421
Acknowledgmentsp. 441
Appendix: Comparison of Modern War Crimes Tribunalsp. 444
Notesp. 451
Further Readingp. 501
List of Illustrationsp. 511
Indexp. 513