Daniel Perell '10: Supporting Justice Abroad
The Criminal Division of the Department of Justice is a broad institution, and its Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training section is generally not the first which comes to mind.
However, the work we do here, assisting foreign governments in improving their justice systems, is not only altruistic but also serves to strengthen international cooperation to combat terrorism and organized and transnational crime. We have roughly 50 resident legal advisors spending at least one year with a foreign host, nearly all of whom were drawn from within the DOJ for their particular expertise.
While I do provide some support to these individuals, I have been tasked with a distinct, though related, assignment. The DOJ, under the auspices of the State Department and in cooperation with seven other executive branch departments and agencies ranging from USAID to the Department of Agriculture, is establishing a Civilian Response Corps to assist in pre- and post-conflict environments.
The ultimate objective of the CRC is to provide civilian expertise across a broad range of disciplines in the most trying of circumstances. I am representing the Department of Justice at numerous high-level meetings, trying to work in concert with partner organizations to create a team of 250 active responders prepared to assist in recovery in some of the most challenging environments. The Civilian Response Corps is beginning to take flight, but much more work remains, both administrative and substantive.
Justice system development is the reason I came to law school and remains my primary interest. Last summer in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, I saw how a field team must cooperate and connect with local actors, while now I am at the cutting edge of modern thought at headquarters. The challenges faced at HQ and in the field offices are distinct, but so long as the objectives remain strengthening the rule of law and establishing trust in all aspects of the legal system, you will find me happily working away.