Zachary Kaufman, Legal academic, political scientist, and social entrepreneur

Zachary D. Kaufman

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“How ISIS May Face Justice for War Crimes”


Interviewee:  Dr. Zachary D. Kaufman

InterviewerMark Leon Goldberg, host of the “Global Dispatches” podcast

Platform: The “Global Dispatches” podcast

Date recorded: October 26, 2017

Date aired: November 17, 2017

Interview available:

Summary (from Mark Leon Goldberg):

Over the last several weeks, ISIS has been systematically losing territory. Its last stronghold in Iraq, the city of Hawija, was liberated in early October. A few weeks later, ISIS’ de-facto capital in Raqqa, Syria fell to US-backed forces.

ISIS no longer controls any major city in the region. Now, with the group mostly defeated on the ground, the international community is starting to think through some difficult and fraught questions of how best to bring ISIS to justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during their brutal reign. In September, the Security Council approved a new probe into ISIS crimes in Iraq. Syria, though, is a different matter. There, the government is not as cooperative with the international community.

So what are the best pathways to justice and accountability?

On the line with me to discuss some of the options that the international community is weighing, and also some of the key obstacles for bringing to justice those who committed war crimes in Iraq and Syria, is Dr. Zachary D. Kaufman.

Zachary D. Kaufman is a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and teaching at Stanford Law school — he is also, like me, a Humanity in Action senior fellow.

If you have 20 minutes and want to learn how ISIS can be held accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity–and why this is an important and urgent question–then have a listen.