When Stephen Rapp was a 21-year-old intern in Washington, DC he was pistol whipped and left for dead in the trunk of his own car.
Throughout his career as a US Attorney and later as a UN war crimes prosecutor and the US Ambassador-at Large for War Crimes Issues, Stephen Rapp used his experience as a victim of a horrendously violent crime to keep him grounded. He served as a prosecutor for the Rwanda War Crimes Tribunal, where he lead the team of prosecutors in the famous case against a radio station accused of fomenting genocide. He also headed the Sierra Leone War Crimes Tribunal when it secured a conviction against former Liberian president Charles Taylor.
Ambassador Rapp recently stepped down as the US Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues and director of the State Department’s Global Justice office. In this wide ranging conversation he discusses how his experience as a victim shaped his commitment to victims rights and the rule of law, why he decided to run for public office in his native Iowa, how he made the transition from a US Attorney to a UN war crimes prosecutor, and how he helped reset America’s relationship with the International Criminal Court.