Professor Paul Williams Testifies before House Foreign Affairs Committee

May 2, 2019

Professor Paul Williams, second from left, testifies before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Professor Paul Williams, second from left, testifies before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

On Tuesday, April 30, Professor Paul Williams testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in a hearing on “Kosovo’s Wartime Victims: The Quest for Justice.” Williams, a prominent international lawyer with experience designing accountability mechanisms, was asked to address the remedies which have been made available to victims of the Kosovo War of 1999.

“Despite there seeming to be a plethora of international and domestic mechanisms designed to bring to justice those responsible for [the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the conflict period], there is a dramatic accountability gap,” Williams said in his written testimony. “Only a small handful of individuals have been indicted and prosecuted for their actions…Hundreds of thousands of victims remain without justice.”

“Given the dramatic under-prosecution of those responsible for these crimes, the Specialist Chambers presents a rare opportunity to correct earlier failure to provide adequate judicial redress to victims,” he continued. “The United States should work with the government of Kosovo to affirm that the mandate of the Specialist Chambers covers all crimes committed in the territory of Kosovo…and to encourage the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office, a part of the judicial system of Kosovo, to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of rape and other conflict-related sexual violence.”

Williams holds the Rebecca I. Grazier Professorship in Law and International Relations at American University. He teaches at the School of International Service and Washington College of Law and also directs the joint JD/MA program in International Relations. Williams is co-founder of the Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG), a non-profit group, which provides pro bono legal assistance to states and governments involved in peace negotiations, post-conflict constitution drafting, and war crimes prosecutions.

Over the course of his legal practice, Williams has assisted over two dozen peace negotiations and post conflict constitutions. He has advised governments across Europe, Asia, as well as North and Sub-Saharan Africa on state recognition, self-determination and state succession issues, and on drafting and implementation of post-conflict constitutions.