Harold Hongju Koh

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Harold Hongju Koh was Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor during the Clinton administration. He is (2004) Gerard C. and Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law at Yale University [1]. Koh is notorious for having been one of the principal lawyers writing the key legal opinions used to justify many aspects of the "war on terror", e.g., torture, rendition flights, indefinite imprisonment without charges, extra-judicial killings, drone attacks...[2] Prof. Francis Boyle, and international law expert at Univ. of Illinois, has actively campaigned against his appointment at universities for his complicity in facilitating war crimes.[3]

Professional History

  • Professional Positions Developments Editor, Harvard Law Review
  • Admitted to the bar in New York, 1981
  • Admitted to the bar in Washington, D.C., 1981
  • Admitted to the bar in Connecticut, 1985
  • Law Clerk for Judge Malcolm Richard Wilkey, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, 1980-81
  • Law Clerk for Justice Harry A. Blackmun, U.S. Supreme Court, 1981-82
  • Associate, Covington & Burling, Washington, D.C., 1982-83
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, George Washington University National Law Center, 1982-85
  • Attorney-Advisor, Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice, 1983-85
  • Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, 1998-2001
  • Associate Professor, Yale, 1985-90
  • Professor, Yale, 1990-93
  • Smith Professor, Yale, 1993-
  • Director, Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School, 1993-98
  • Visiting Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford University, 1996-97
  • Honorary Fellow, Magdalen College, Oxford, 2000-
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2000-
  • Dean, Yale, 2004-

Government Positions

  • Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor United States Department of State
  • Commission for Security and Cooperation in Europe -- Commissioner
  • U.S. Delegate or Head of Delegation to:
  • United Nations General Assembly (Third Committee) the United Nations Human Rights Commission
  • the Organization of American States
  • the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
  • the U.N. Committee Against Torture
  • Inaugural Community of Democracies Meeting (Warsaw 2000)
  • U.N. Conference on New and Restored Democracies (Cotonou, Benin 2000)

Other Affiliations

Other Chapters

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  • Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Press Release: CREW Sues Department of Justice Over Missing Yoo Emails, Common Dreams, 11 May 2010.


  1. Yale University profile
  2. Chase Madar, How Liberals Kill: Harold Koh learns to love bomb power, American Conservative, 1 June 2010 issue (available online 12 May 2010)
  3. Various interviews on Flashpoints.net
  4. Advisory Council, Fund for Independence in Journalism, accessed June 11, 2008.
  5. Editors and Editorial Board, Human Rights Quarterly, accessed March 22, 2010.