CWRU’s War Crimes Research Office Director James Johnson appointed international chief prosecutor

Photo of James Johnson

On Sept. 27, the Secretary-General of the United Nations appointed Case Western Reserve University Adjunct Professor of Law James Johnson the chief prosecutor of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone. Since 2013, Johnson has been the director of the Case Western Reserve University School of Law War Crimes Research Office and has taught international criminal law and the international law research lab.

Johnson came to Case Western Reserve after serving for a decade as the chief of prosecutions of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, where he tried several high-profile cases, including that of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, who was convicted of crimes against humanity.

Under Johnson’s supervision, Case Western Reserve law students have undertaken legal research for the International Criminal Court, Cambodia Genocide Tribunal, Special Tribunal for Lebanon, IIIM for Syria and the IIMM for Myanmar. Last year, he launched the Yemen Accountability Project, under which 70 CWRU law students are preparing case files for the eventual prosecution of persons responsible for atrocities in Yemen.

“Jim Johnson’s appointment makes him one of a handful of Americans in history to serve as a Chief Prosecutor of an International Tribunal,” said CWRU Law School Co-Dean Michael Scharf. “He is an important part of our nationally ranked international law program and we are pleased that he will continue to teach at CWRU and direct the Law School’s War Crimes Research Office while serving as Chief Prosecutor of the Residual Court.”