Beth Van Schaack

Professor of Law (On Leave 2014-15)


In 2012, Professor Van Schaack was appointed Deputy to U.S. Ambassador-At-Large for War Crimes Issues in the U.S. State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice. She is on leave for the school year 2012-13.  She is a Visiting Scholar for the remainder of the academic year with the Center on International Security & Cooperation at Stanford University.

Professor Van Schaack joined the Santa Clara University School of Law faculty from private practice with Morrison & Forester LLP, where she practiced in the area of commercial law, international law, and human rights. She was trial counsel for Romagoza v. Garcia, a human rights case that resulted in a plaintiffs’ award of $54.6 million, and on the defense team for John Walker Lindh. She also served on the United States delegation to the International Criminal Court Review Conference in Kampala, Uganda.

Prior to entering private practice, Van Schaack was involved in human rights litigation as the Executive Director and Staff Attorney of 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. She also clerked with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia from 1997-98.


J.D., Yale Law School, 1997

B.A., Stanford University, 1991

Areas of Specialization

International Law, International Human Rights, Transitional Justice, International Criminal Law & Humanitarian Law, Civil Procedure, Corporations, Conflicts of Law, Comparative Law

Affiliations and Honors

  • Santa Clara University President’s Special Recognition Award for distinguished academic achievement.
  • Executive Editor, JustSecurity blog,
  •  Legal Advisor, The Documentation Center of Cambodia (1995-present)
  • Legal Advisor, The Center for Justice & Accountability (1999-present)
  • Legal Advisor, Accountability Council (2010-present)
  • Legal Advisor, Syria Commission on Justice & Accountability (2013-present)
  • Open Society Institute Justice Fellow (1997-1999)
  • Howard Holtzman Fellow in International Arbitration, Asmara, Eritrea (Summer 1997)



Cambodia's Hidden Scars: Trauma Psychology in the Wake of the Khmer Rouge: An Edited Volume on Cambodia's Mental Health edited with Reicherter, Chhang, and Talbott. Documentation Center of Cambodia (2011) | Link to Library Catalog

International Criminal Law and Its Enforcement: Cases and Materials with Slye. 2nd edition. Foundation Press (2010) | Link to Library Catalog

International Criminal Law: Essentials with Slye. Aspen Publishers (2009) | Link to Library Catalog

International Criminal Law and Its Enforcement: Cases and Materials with Slye. Foundation Press (2007) | Link to Library Catalog

Bringing the Khmer Rouge to Justice: Prosecuting Mass Violence before the Cambodian Courts edited with Ramji-Nogales. Mellen Press (2005) | Link to Library Catalog

The Statute of the International Criminal Court in Light of the Deliberations in Rome. International Service for Human Rights (1999)


Engendering Genocide: The Akayesu Case Before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Human Rights Advocacy Stories. Hurwitz, Satterthwaite, and Ford, editors. Foundation Press (2009) | Link to Digital Commons | Link to Library Catalog


Par in Parem Imperium Non-Habet: Complementarity and the Crime of Aggression, 10 Journal of International Criminal Justice 133-164 (2012) | Link to Digital Commons

The Killing of Osama Bin Laden and Anwar Al-Aulaqi: Uncharted Legal Territory, 14 Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law 255-325 (2012) | Link to Digital Commons

The Crime of Aggression and Humanitarian Intervention on Behalf of Women, (The Special Issue: Women and International Criminal Law: Dedicated to the Honourable Patricia M. Wald: The Limits of International Criminal Law), 11 International Criminal Law Review 477-494 (2011) | Link to Digital Commons

Negotiating at the Interface Between Power and Law: The Crime of Aggression, 49 Columbia Journal of Transnational Law 505-601 (2011) | Link to Digital Commons

The Grass That Gets Trampled When Elephants Fight: Will the Codification of the Crime of Aggression Protect Women?, 15 UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs 327-397 (2010) | Link to Digital Commons

Obstacles on the Road to Gender Justice: The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda as Object Lesson, 17 American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law 361-406 (2009) | Link to Digital Commons

Atrocity Crimes Litigation: 2008 Year in Review, 7 Northwestern University Journal of International Human Rights 170-238 (2009) | Link to Digital Commons

Finding the Tort of Terrorism in International Criminal Law, 28 Review of Litigation 381-478 (2008) | Link to Digital Commons

Crimen Sine Lege: Judicial Lawmaking at the Intersection of Law and Morals, 97 Georgetown Law Journal 119-192 (2008) | Link to Digital Commons

Darfur and the Rhetoric of Genocide, 26 Whittier Law Review 1101-1141 (2005) | Link to Digital Commons

With All Deliberate Speed: Civil Human Rights Litigation as a Tool for Social Change, 57 Vanderbilt Law Review 2305-2348 (2004) | Link to Digital Commons

Command Responsibility: The Anatomy of Proof in Romagoza v. Garcia, 36 U.C. Davis Law Review 1213-1259 (2003) | Link to Digital Commons

Unfulfilled Promise: The Human Rights Class Action, 2003 University of Chicago Legal Forum 279-352 (2003) (Excerpted in International Human Rights Lawyering: Cases and Materials, by Steinhardt, Hoffman, and Camponovo. West (2009)) | Link to Digital Commons

Romagoza v. Garcia: Proving Command Responsibility Under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victim Protection Act, 59 Guild Practitioner 170-185 (2002) | Link to Digital Commons

In Defense of Civil Redress: The Domestic Enforcement of Human Rights Norms in the Context of the Proposed Hague Judgments Convention, 42 Harvard International Law Journal 141-200 (2001) | Link to Digital Commons

The Civil Enforcement of Human Rights Norms in Domestic Courts, 6 ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law 295-303 (2000) | Link to Digital Commons

The Definition of Crimes Against Humanity: Resolving the Incoherence, 37 Columbia Journal of Transnational Law 787-849 (1999) | Link to Digital Commons

The Establishment of the Permanent International Criminal Court: An International Symposium, 17 Chinese Yearbook of International Law and Affairs 1-62 (1999) | Link to Digital Commons

Crime of Political Genocide: Repairing the Genocide Convention's Blind Spot, 106 Yale Law Journal 2259-2291 (1997) | Link to Digital Commons

Book Reviews

Gender Stereotyping: Transnational Legal Perspectives, 12 International Feminist Journal of Politics 527-529 (2010) | Link to Library Catalog | Link to Full Text

The Story Behind the Case That Launched a Legal Revolution, (review of The Anatomy of Torture: A Documentary History of Filartiga v. Pena-Irala), 30 Human Rights Quarterly 1042-1058 (2008) | Link to Library Catalog | Link to Full Text

Other Articles

Serving in State, 20 Santa Clara Law: The Magazine of Santa Clara University School of Law 28-29 (Spring 2014)

Altruism v. Apathy, 53 Santa Clara Magazine 26-27 (Summer 2011) | Link to Full Text

Legality and International Criminal Law, (The Principle of Legality in International Criminal Law: Panel), 103 American Society of International Law Proceedings 101-104 (2009) | Link to Digital Commons

Justice Without Borders: Universal Civil Jurisdiction, 99 American Society of International Law Proceedings 120-122 (2005) | Link to Digital Commons

Foreword: International Law in the United States Legal System: Observance, Application, and Enforcement, 45 Santa Clara Law Review 807-815 (2005) | Link to Digital Commons


Crimes Against Humanity entry in Oxford Bibliographies: International Law. Oxford University Press (2012) | Link to Full Text

Dossier on the International Criminal Court with Huston, Rubesame, and Ivanic. [s.n.] (1999)

Truth and Justice in Cambodia: Human Rights in Transitional Regimes: A Teaching Manual for the Cambodian Genocide Program (CGP) at Yale University. Edited with Novogrodsky and Slye. Documentation Center of Cambodia (1996)