Tillerson to shutter war crimes focused State Dept. office: report

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is planning to shut down the State Department office that focuses on war crimes, according to a new report.

Several former U.S. officials told Foreign Policy that Todd Buchwald, the special coordinator in the Office of Global Criminal Justice (OGCJ), was recently told by Tillerson’s office that he was being reassigned to a new position in a different department. The remaining staff of the OGCJ may also be reassigned, according to Foreign Policy.

A State Department official wouldn’t confirm or deny that the office is being closed.

{mosads}“The State Department is currently undergoing an employee-led redesign initiative, and there are no predetermined outcomes,” a spokesperson told Foreign Policy in a statement. “We are not going to get ahead of any outcomes.”

A senior State Department official told Foreign Policy on background that occasionally the idea of closing an office closing will be floated, “just to see what comes back.”

The OGCJ advises the secretary of State on issues surrounding war crimes and genocide, and helps form policy to address those atrocities.

The news comes as President Trump’s State Department has seen a host of key officials leave in recent weeks. The head of the State Department’s unit that focuses on Afghanistan and Pakistan left at the end of June, and it was announced Monday that the department’s top cyber official will leave his position at the end of this month.

Tillerson pushed back against criticism of proposed budget cuts to the State Department’s budget last month, arguing that the department was simply “leaning in.”


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