Stephen Rapp is the Sonia and Harry Blumenthal Distinguished Fellow for the Prevention of Genocide at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center. Prior to this appointment, he served as the Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, heading the Office of Global Criminal Justice at the U.S. State Department. In this position, Rapp was responsible for advising the Secretary of State and the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights on issues related to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, and formulating U.S. policy related to preventing, responding to, and securing accountability for mass atrocities.
Previously, as prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), Ambassador Rapp led the prosecution of former Liberian president Charles Taylor for atrocities committed during the country’s civil war. While at the SCSL, his office also achieved the first convictions under international law for the recruitment and use of child soldiers for sexual slavery and forced marriages. Prior to this position, Ambassador Rapp served as senior trial attorney and chief of prosecutions at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, heading the trial team that achieved the first convictions against leaders of Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines radio station and Kangura newspaper for the crime of direct and public incitement to commit genocide.
Ambassador Rapp has also served as U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Iowa, as staff director of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency, and as a member of the Iowa Legislature.
Ambassador Rapp holds a JD from Drake Law School and an AB from Harvard College.