Michael Scharf

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Michael P. Scharf
Professor of International Law
Michael P Scharf.JPG
Born (1963-04-25) April 25, 1963 (age 54)
Nationality United States
Fields International law
Institutions Case Western Reserve University School of Law
Alma mater Duke University
Duke University School of Law

Michael P. Scharf (born April 25, 1963 in Shaker Heights, Ohio) is Co-Dean, Joseph C. Hostetler -- BakerHostetler professor of law, and the director of the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Scharf is also co-founder of the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG),[1] a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) which provides pro bono legal assistance to developing states and states in transition. Since 1995 PILPG has provided pro bono legal assistance to states and governments involved in peace negotiations, drafting post-conflict constitutions, and prosecuting war criminals. Since March 2012, Scharf has also been the producer and host of “Talking Foreign Policy,” a one-hour radio program aired on a quarterly basis on Cleveland’s NPR affiliate WCPN 90.3 ideastream.


In 2013, Scharf headed a Blue Ribbon Committee that drafted a statute for a War Crimes Tribunal for Syrian atrocities.[2] See USA Today article.

In 2004–06, Scharf served as a member of the international team of experts that provided training and assistance to the judges of the Iraqi High Tribunal, and in 2008 he served as Special Assistant to the International Prosecutor of the Cambodia Tribunal.

In 2002, Scharf established the War Crimes Research Office at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, which provides research assistance to the Prosecutors of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the International Criminal Court, the Cambodia Genocide Tribunal, and the Iraqi High Tribunal on issues pending before those international tribunals.[3]

During the first Bush and Clinton Administrations, Scharf served in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State, where he held the positions of Attorney-Adviser for Law Enforcement and Intelligence, Attorney-Adviser for United Nations Affairs, and delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. In 1993, he was awarded the State Department's Meritorious Honor Award "in recognition of superb performance and exemplary leadership" in relation to his role in the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

An internationally recognized expert in international criminal law, Scharf has testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations[4] and the House Armed Services Committee;[5] his interviews and op eds have appeared in the Washington Post,[6] Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, and International Herald Tribune; and he has appeared on ABC World News Tonight, the NBC Today Show, Nightline, The O'Reilly Factor, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,[7] Minnesota Public Radio,[8] Public Radio International (PRI),[9] The Charlie Rose Show,[10][11] the BBC, CNN, Voice of America,[12] and NPR. Scharf also hosts Grotian Moment, an award-winning International Criminal Law Blog. He is a frequent contributor of scholarly articles to the American Society of International Law.

Personal interests[edit]

Scharf is a fan of Star Trek and in 1994 co-authored an article titled "The Interstellar Relations of the Federation: International Law and Star Trek the Next Generation" in the Toledo Law Review which was subsequently republished in the book Star Trek Visions of Law and Justice.[13]

Scharf and his law professor/student band perform regularly at the Barking Spider Tavern and have performed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Cleveland Aquarium.[14][15]



  • Customary International Law in Times of Fundamental Change: Recognizing Grotian Moments. Cambridge University Press (2013)
  • International Criminal Justice: Legitimacy and Coherence. Edward Elgar (2012). With G. Boas and W. Schabas.
  • Shaping Foreign Policy in Times of Crisis: The Role of International Law and the State Department Legal Adviser. Cambridge University Press (2010)
  • Criminal Jurisdiction 100 Years After the 1907 Hague Peace Conference. T.M.C. Asser Press/Cambridge University Press (2009). With Willem J.M. van Genugten.
  • The Theory and Practice of International Criminal Law. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers (2008). With Leila Sadat.
  • Enemy of the State: The Trial and Execution of Saddam Hussein. St. Martin's Press (2008). With Michael A. Newton. (Winner of the International Association of Penal Law's 2009 Book of the Year Award for Scholarly and Theoretical Contribution to the Field.)
  • The Law of International Organizations.
  • International Criminal Law.
  • Saddam on Trial: Understanding and Debating the Iraqi High Tribunal.
  • Peace with Justice? War Crimes and Accountability in the Former Yugoslavia. Rowman & Littlefield (2002). With Paul Williams. (Winner of the International Association of Penal Law's 2003 Book of the Year Award for Scholarly and Theoretical Contribution to the Field.)
  • Slobodan Milosevic on Trial: A Companion. Continuum Press (2002). With William Schabas.
  • The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Transnational Publishers (1998). (2 vols) With Virginia Morris. (Winner of the 1999 American Society of International Law Certificate of Merit for the Outstanding Book in International Law).
  • Making Justice Work. Century Foundation Press (1998). With Paul Williams and Diane Orentlicher.
  • Balkan Justice: The Story Behind the First International War Crimes Trial Since Nuremberg. (Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize)
  • An Insider’s Guide to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Transnational Publishers (1995).

Articles and op-eds[edit]

  • "The Iraqi High Tribunal: A Viable Experiment in International Justice?" Journal of International Criminal Justice (April 2007).
  • "Outlook: Trying Saddam", Washington Post (December 20, 2004).
  • "Don’t Just Fight Him; Indict Him", Los Angeles Times (October 6, 2002).
  • "Prosecute Terrorists on a World Stage", Los Angeles Times (November 18, 2001). With Paul R. Williams.
  • "The Lockerbie Trial Verdict", ASIL Insights (February 2001).
  • "The Special Court for Sierra Leone", ASIL Insights (October 2000).
  • "The Indictment of Slobodan Milosevic", ASIL Insights (June 1999).
  • "Results of the Rome Conference for an International Criminal Court", ASIL Insights (August 1998).
  • "Rome Diplomatic Conference for an International Criminal Court", ASIL Insights (June 1998).


  1. ^ "Public International Law & Policy Group". Publicinternationallaw.org. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Experts push for Syrian war crimes court". Retrieved 2015-06-08. 
  3. ^ Farah, Douglas. "Mortland, Shannon. (June 18, 2007.) "Case law prof's dedication to preventing atrocities leads to renown for war crimes tribunal work." Crain's Cleveland Business". Accessmylibrary.com. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Is a U.N. International Criminal Court in the U.S. National Interest?" (July 23, 1998). Washington, D.C.:U.S. Government Printing Office. Available on the Internet from the Coalition for the International Criminal Court.
  5. ^ http://www.globalsecurity.org/security/library/congress/2006_h/060726-scharf.pdf
  6. ^ "Kevin Sullivan and Peter Finn. (July 24, 2008). "Karadzic Case Offers Court a Chance to Repair Its Image: Hague Tribunal Stumbled In Prosecution of Milosevic" ''Washington Post''". The Washington Post. July 24, 2008. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  7. ^ "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, "Trying Saddam," June 30, 2004". Pbs.org. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Minnesota Public Radio, "Karadzic Trial a Test for War Crimes Tribunal," July 30, 2008 (1 hour interview). Audio available at". Minnesota.publicradio.org. July 30, 2008. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  9. ^ "PRI "The World," "Saddam's Final Chapter," July 16, 2008, Newton and Scharf interview about Saddam on Trial. Audio available at www.theworld.org". Theworld.org. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  10. ^ "The Charlie Rose Show: A conversation about Osama Bin Laden's crimes". Charlierose.com. October 29, 2001. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Charlie Rose Show, October 29, 2001, video available on Google". Google. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  12. ^ Voice of America, "US Professors and Students Laid Groundwork for Charles Taylor Trial," July 12, 2007
  13. ^ Star trek visions of law and justice – Google Boeken. Google Books. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  14. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?hl=en&client=mv-google&gl=US&v=NRx58iJgr40&feature=youtu.be&nomobile=1&noredirect=1, retrieved 2015-06-08  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVAp20_FSOA, retrieved 2015-06-08  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]