DOJ Creates Human Rights And Special Prosecutions Section
By Andrew Ramonas | March 30, 2010 6:10 pm

The Justice Department established a new section within the Criminal Division to handle human rights crimes, the department announced Tuesday.

The DOJ is merging the Office of Special Investigations and the Domestic Security Section into the new Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, which President Barack Obama approved in December.

The Office of Special Investigations — which was established to probe ex-Nazi war criminals living in the United States — had jurisdiction over U.S. citizens accused of human rights crimes. The Domestic Security Section focused on non-U.S. citizens accused of violating human rights laws and who are now in the United States.

The new section will prosecute torture, genocide, child soldiers and war crimes that are committed by any person who is in the United States.

“Since its founding, the United States has been a steadfast champion for the cause of justice around the world,” Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Lanny Breuer said in a statement. “In that great tradition, the new Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section is poised to be a global leader in combating human rights violations and ensuring that war criminals are held to account for their crimes.”

Teresa L. McHenry, who led the Domestic Security Section, will be the head of the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section. Eli M. Rosenbaum, who was the Office of Special Investigations chief, will be the Human Rights Enforcement Strategy and Policy Director. Domestic Security Section deputy chiefs David Jaffe and William Ho-Gonzalez, and Office of Special Investigations deputy chiefs Robert G. Thomson and Elizabeth B. White will all be deputy chiefs in the new section.

“The passion and intelligence both Teresa and Eli bring to their work is evident in the extraordinary record of successful investigations and prosecutions amassed by OSI and DSS,” Breuer said in the statement. “Together, these two extraordinary leaders and the attorneys they guide will raise our already impressive human rights program to new heights.”

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