Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch since 1993, has investigated human rights abuses around the globe, with special expertise on issues of justice and accountability for atrocities committed in the quest for peace; military conduct in war under the requirements of international humanitarian law; counterterrorism policy including resort to torture and arbitrary detention; the human rights policies of the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations; and the human rights responsibilities of multinational businesses. Mr. Roth has published more than 100 articles and chapters on a range of human rights topics. Before joining HRW as deputy director in 1987, Mr. Roth was a federal prosecutor for both the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York and the Iran-Contra investigation in Washington. He is a graduate of Yale Law School and Brown University.
The other thing I worry about is the willingness on the part of the world to make real sacrifices to come to the aid of people who are facing mass atrocities. At the end of the 1990s, we saw the emergence of what is sometimes known as . . . as the doctrine of the responsibility to protect. Others call it humanitarian intervention. But the willingness on the part of governments around the world to step in even to the extent of using military force, if that was necessary to stop a genocide; to stop mass slaughter. And much as I think any of us resist the idea of going to war if at all possible, in my view pacifism is not the ultimate value. There are times when war is necessary, and one of those would be when people are standing helplessly before a government that is mowing them down. And at that stage, in my view the international community has a duty to step in.
Recorded on: 8/14/07