Zachary D. Kaufman


Zachary D. Kaufman, JD, PhD, was previously a visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Kaufman is currently a lecturer in law and fellow at Stanford Law School, and a senior fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Kaufman previously taught in Yale University’s Department of Political Science and George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. He also has held academic appointments at Yale Law School, Harvard Law School, Stanford University, and New York University.

Kaufman is the author or editor of three books: United States Law and Policy on Transitional Justice: Principles, Politics, and Pragmatics (2016), Social Entrepreneurship in the Age of Atrocities: Changing Our World (2012), and After Genocide: Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, and Reconciliation in Rwanda and Beyond (2009). He is also the author of more than forty articles and book chapters, most of which are available on his Social Science Research Network (SSRN) page. His work has been published by the Yale Journal of International Law, Harvard International Law Journal, Yale Law & Policy Review, Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal, Emory International Law Review, and other journals.

Kaufman has served in all three branches of the US government. He was a US Supreme Court fellow, a Council on Foreign Relations international affairs fellow on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and a clerk for the Honorable Juan Torruella on the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. In addition he served at the US Departments of State and Justice. He also has served at three international war crimes tribunals: the International Criminal Court (where he was the first American to serve) as well as the UN International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda, and for the Former Yugoslavia. In the private sector Kaufman has practiced law at O’Melveny & Myers LLP and worked at Google.

A term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Kaufman received his PhD and MPhil., both in international relations, from Oxford University (where he was a Marshall Scholar); his JD from Yale Law School (where he was an Olin Fellow, editor in chief of the Yale Law & Policy Review, managing editor of the Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal, articles editor of the Yale Journal of International Law, and cofounder and copresident of Yale Law Social Entrepreneurs), and his BA in political science from Yale University (where he was the student body president).

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

California Must Close Gap In Law On Reporting Sex Abuse

by Zachary D. Kaufmanvia SLS Blogs
Monday, June 24, 2019

The #MeToo movement has emphasized not only how rampant sexual abuse is, but also how frequently third parties disregard — or even enable — it. California is an epicenter of this movement with many of the highest-profile instances of both assault and bystanderism occurring here, particularly in Hollywood. In perhaps the most notorious case, at least 16 people admitted witnessing or knowing of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct but remaining silent; his behavior was infamous within both Miramax and the Weinstein Co., giants in the entertainment industry.

Analysis and Commentary

Jesner v. Arab Bank: U.S. Foreign Policy And National Security Interests

by Zachary D. Kaufmanvia Just Security, 2017
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Jesner v. Arab Bank presents the U.S. Supreme Court with the question of whether the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), 28 U.S.C. 1350, “categorically forecloses corporate liability.” The case is on appeal from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which affirmed the decision of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The trial court dismissed petitioners’ suits on the ground that the Second Circuit had foreclosed claims against corporations under the ATS.