Diane Orentlicher

Professor of Law

Office: Room 466
Phone: 202-274-4229
E-mail: vCard


Diane Orentlicher, Professor of International Law at American University, has been described by the Washington Diplomat as “one of the world’s leading authorities on human rights law and war crimes tribunals.” She has lectured and published widely on issues of transitional justice, international criminal law and other areas of public international law, and has testified before the United States Senate and House on a range of issues relating to both domestic human rights laws and U.S. foreign policy. Professor Orentlicher has served in various public positions, including as the Deputy for War Crimes Issues in the U.S. Department of State (2009-2011); United Nations Independent Expert on Combating Impunity (on appointment by the UN Secretary-General) and Special Advisor to the High Commissioner on National Minorities of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (on secondment from the U.S. Department of State).

Professor Orentlicher is a frequent commentator on television and in the print media on issues relating to war crimes trials and other issues of transitional justice. She has appeared on various news programs on NBC, ABC, BBC, CNN, NPR, PBS, MSNBC and other broadcast stations, and has published opinion pieces and been quoted in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune and other papers.



Areas of Specialization

  • International Criminal Law
  • International Human Rights
  • International Law
  • Transitional Justice

Degrees & Universities

  • J.D., Columbia University 1981
  • B.A., Yale University 1977

  • Selected Publications

    • Diane Orentlicher, Genocide, in Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know (2d. ed., W.W. Norton Press forthcoming 2007).
    • Diane Orentlicher, 'Settling Accounts' Revisited; Reconciling Global Norms with Local Agency, 1 Intl. J. Transnatl. Just. 10 (2007). SSRN Link
    • Diane Orentlicher, Whose Justice? Reconciling Universal Jurisdiction with Democratic Principles, 92 Geo L.J. 1057 (2004) (reprinted in International Law and International Relations: Bridging Theory And Practice (Tom Biersteker, Peter Spiro, Chandra Sriram, & Veronica Raffo, eds., Routledge Press, 2007)).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Human Rights (University Casebook Series) (Diane Orentlicher, L. Henkin & G. Neuman, & D. Leebron, eds., Foundation Press 1999 & Supplement to Human Rights 2003).
    • + More Publications...

    • Books

    • Diane Orentlicher, Report of the Independent Expert to Update the Set of Principles to Combat Impunity (UN Doc. E/CN.4/2005/102 Feb. 18, 2005).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Updated Set of Principles for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights Through Action to Combat Impunity (UN Doc. E/CN.4/2005/102/Add. 1 Feb. 8, 2005).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Independent Study on Best Practices, Including Recommendations, to Assist States in Strengthening thier Domestic Capacity to Combat All Aspects of Impunity (UN Doc. E/CN.4/2004/88 Feb. 27, 2004).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Universal Jurisdiction After Pinochet: Prospects and Perils (Center for Global Peace & Conflict Studies, University of California at Irvine 2003).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Seven Candidates for Prosection: Accountability for the Crimes of the Khmer Rouge (War Crimes Reasearch Office, American University, and Coalition for International Justice 2001).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Report on the Situation of Roma and Sinti in the OSCE Area (The High Commissioner on National Minorities, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe 2000).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity: The Legal Regime (United States Holocaust Memorial Council 1998).
    • Diane Orentlicher, No Justice, No Peace: Accountability for Rape and Gender-Based Violence in teh Former Yugoslavia (International Human Rights Law Group 1993).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Timothy Gelatt, Getting Down to Business: The Human Rights Responsibilities of China's Investors and Trade Partners (International League for Human Rights 1992).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Business as Usual...?: The International Response to Human Rights Violations in China (International League for Human Rights 1991).
    • Diane Orentlicher, In Brief: Human Rights at the United Nations: Accountability for Human Rights Crimes (International League for Human Rights 1991).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Impunity: Prosecutions of Human Rights Violations in the Philippines (Lawyers Committee for Human Rights 1991).
    • Diane Orentlicher, The Long Road to Justice: A Report on the Letelier-Moffitt Case (International League for Human Rights 1991).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Vigilantes in the Philippines: A Threat to Democratic Rule (Lawyers Committee for Human Rights 1988).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Human Righs in Indonesia (Asia Watch 1988).
    • Diane Orentlicher, The Reagan Administration's Record on Human Rights in 1986 (Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, Americas Watch, Helsinki Watch and Asia Watch 1987).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Critique: Review of the Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1986 (Lawyers Committe for Human Rights, Americas Watch, Helsinki Watch and Asia Watch 1987).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Seeking Shelter: Combodians in Thailand (Lawyers Committee for Human Rights 1987).
    • Diane Orentlicher, The War Against Children: South Africa's Youngest Victims (Lawyers Committe for Human Rights 1986).
    • Diane Orentlicher, The Reagan Administration's Record on Human Rights in 1985 (Lawyers Committee on Human Rights, Americas Watch, Helsinki Watch and Asia Watch 1986).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Salvaging Democracy: Human Rights in the Philippines (Lawyers Committee for Human Rights 1985).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Kampuchea: After the Worst (Lawyers Committee for Human Rights 1985).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Honduras: A Crisis on the Border (Lawyers Committee for Human Rights 1985).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Critique: Review of the Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1984 (Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, Americas Watch, Helsinki Watch and Asia Watch 1985).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Critique: Review of the Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1983 (Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, Americas Watch, Helsinki Watch and Asia Watch 1984).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Failure: The Reagan Administration's Human Rights Policy in 1983 (Lawyers Committee for Human Righs, Americas Watch, Helsinki Watch and Asia Watch 1984).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Free Fire: A Report on Human Rights in El Salvador (Lawyers Committee for Human Rights and Americas Watch 1984).
    • Diane Orentlicher, The Philippines: A Country in Crisis (Lawyers Committee for Human Rights 1983).
    • Other Publications

    • Diane Orentlicher & Morton H. Halperin, The New UN Human Rights Council, 13 No. 3 Hum. Rights Br. 1 (2006).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Criminalizing Hate Speech: A Comment on the ICTR's Judgment in The Prosecutor v. Nahimana, et al., 13 No. 1 Hum. Rights Br. 1 (2006).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Criminalizing Hate Speech in the Crucible of Trial: Prosecutor v. Nahimana, 12 New Eng. J. Intl. & Comp. L. 17 (2005) (reprinted in 21 Am. U. Intl. L. Rev. 557 (2006)).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Unilateral Multiateralism: United States Policy Toward the International Criminal Court, 36 Cornell Intl. L.J. 415 (2004).
    • Diane Orentlicher, The Future of Universal Jurisdiction in the New Architecture of Transnational Justice, in Universal Jurisdiction: National Courts and the Prosecution of Serious Crimes Under International Law, 214 (Stephen J. Macedo, ed., U. Pa. Press 2003).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Judging Global Justice: Assessing the International Criminal Court, 21 Wis. Intl. L.J. 495 (2003).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Striking a Balance: Mixed Law Tribunals and Conflicts of Jurisdiction, in Justice For Crimes Against Humanity: International Law After Pinochet (Philippe Sands & Mark Lattimer, eds., Hart Press 2003).
    • Diane Orentlicher, International Responses to Separatist Claims, (Ch. 1); and Democratic Principles and Separatist Claims: A Response and Further Inquiry, (Ch. 3), in XLV Nomos: Secession & Self-Determination (Stephen J. Macedo & Allen Buchanan, eds., N.Y.U. Press 2003).
    • Diane Orentlicher & Robert K. Goldman, When Justice Goes To War: Prosecuting Terrorists Before Military Commissions, 25 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Policy 495 (2002).
    • Diane Orentlicher, The Role of Domestic Courts and Judges in the Implementation and Enforcement of International Humanitarian Law, 4 Fundamentum 5 (2001).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Relativism and Religion, in Human Rights as Politics and Religion, 141 (Amy Gutmann, ed., Princeton U. Press 2001).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Contemporary International Law and Policy Responses to Separatist Movements, in A Contitnent Apart: Kosovo, Africa and Humanitarian Intervention (Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, ed., 2001).
    • Diane Orentlicher, The Imprint of Kosovo on International Law, 6 Int. L. Students Assn. J. Intl. & Comp. L. 541 (2000).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Genocide, in Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know (R. Guttman & D. Rieff, eds., W.W. Norton & Co. 1999).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Democracy and Difference: Democratic Rights and Separatist Claims, in Trilateral Perspectives on International Legal Issues: From Theory into Practice (Am. Socy. of Intl. L., Transitional Publishes 1998).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Responsibilities of States Participating in Multilateral Operations with Respect to Persons Indicted for War Crimes, in Reigning in Impunity for International Crimes and serious Violations of Fundamental Human Rights: Proceeds of the Siracusa Conference, 17-21 September 1998, 14 Nouvelles Etudes Penales 193 (1998) (reprinted in Making Justice Work: The Report of the Century Foundation/Twentieth Century Fund Task Force on Apprehending Indicted War Ciminals, Century Foundation Press, 1998).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Citizenship and National Identity, in International Law and Ethnic Conflict (D. Wippman, ed., Cornell U. Press 1997).
    • Diane Orentlicher, The Regan Administration's Policy on Latin America, in President Reagan and the World (Greenwood Press 1997).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Addressing Gross Human Rights Abuses: Punishment and Victim Compensation, in Human Rights: An Agenda for the Next Century (L. Henkin & J.L. Hargrove, eds., Am. Society of Intl. L. 1994).
    • Diane Orentlicher, The United States Commiment to Human Rights, in Human Rights in the World Community (R. Claude & B. Weston, eds., U. Pa. Press 1992).
    • Diane Orentlicher, W. Zabel and D. Nachman, Human Rights and the Administration of Justice in Chile: A Report of a Delegation of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and the International Bar Association, 42 Rec. of the Assn. of the B. of the City of New York 431 (1987).
    • Diane Orentlicher, The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman Or Degrading of The Association of the Bar of the City of New York and the International Bar Association, 42 Rec. of the Assn. of the B. City of N.Y. 431 (1987).
    • Diane Orentlicher, Lawyers Under Siege, in Index on Censorship ( Oct. 1985).