Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section (HRSP)

Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section (HRSP)

Promoting justice by prosecuting human rights violators and other international criminals

The Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section (HRSP) primarily investigates and prosecutes cases against human rights violators and other international criminals. HRSP investigates and prosecutes human rights violators for genocide, torture, war crimes, recruitment or use of child soldiers, female genital mutilation, and for immigration and naturalization fraud arising out of efforts to hide their involvement in such crimes. HRSP also prosecutes perpetrators of other international violent crimes, particularly those involving the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA) or occurring within the Special Maritime & Territorial Jurisdiction of the United States (SMTJ). Finally, HRSP prosecutes members of international criminal networks who seek to evade our immigration laws, such as by smuggling persons into the United States. In addition to its prosecutorial activities, HRSP is actively engaged in policy work, both domestically and internationally.

Learn More


Counselor for War Crimes Accountability Eli M. Rosenbaum Opening Statement Before the Senate Judiciary Committee at a Hearing Titled, “From Nuremberg to Ukraine: Accountability for War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity”

September 28, 2022

Thank you, Chairman and Ranking Member, for inviting the Department of Justice to address gaps in federal law that significantly limit our ability to bring war criminals and perpetrators of human rights crimes to justice.

Eight Indicted in Joint Task Force Alpha Investigation and Arrested as Part of Takedown of Prolific Human Smuggling Network

September 13, 2022

The U.S. Department of Justice, along with its partners, today announced a significant enforcement operation that disrupted and dismantled a prolific human smuggling operation in Texas and across the Southern United States.


Four Guatemalan Nationals Indicted by Joint Task Force Alpha and Arrested as Part of Takedown of Deadly Human Smuggling Network Based in Guatemala

Thursday, August 4, 2022

On Tuesday, extensive coordination and cooperation efforts between United States and Guatemalan law enforcement authorities culminated in the Guatemalan National Civil Police (PNC) conducting a significant enforcement operation to disrupt and dismantle a transnational human smuggling organization.

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Visits Ukraine, Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to Help Identify, Apprehend, and Prosecute Individuals Involved in War Crimes and Atrocities

Tuesday, June 21 2022

Garland meets with Ukrainian Prosecutor General; Announces Counselor for War Crimes Accountability

Readout of Latest Justice Department Leadership Meeting on Joint Task Force Alpha’s Anti-Human Smuggling and Trafficking Efforts

Monday, June 13, 2022

Last week, Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division convened a meeting in San Diego to highlight the progress of Joint Task Force Alpha (JTF Alpha) in recognition of the one-year anniversary since its formation.

Attorney General Announces Initiatives to Combat Human Smuggling and Trafficking and to Fight Corruption in Central America

Monday, June 7, 2022

U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today announced a series of steps that the Department of Justice is taking to address the threats posed by both corruption and by transnational human smuggling and trafficking networks.

Eight Defendants Indicted for Human Smuggling and Drug Conspiracy Offenses

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Defendants Charged With Smuggling 24 Hondurans Into Louisiana; One Defendant Arrested for Conspiring to Possess With Intent to Distribute 24 Kilograms of Cocaine Seized From the Boat Carrying Undocumented Hondurans

Individual Sentenced on Kidnapping and Weapons Charges Connected to Murder in Indian Country

Thursday, April 21, 2022

A member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma was sentenced today to more than 12 years in prison for his conduct in connection with a homicide that took place in 2017 within Indian Country in Oklahoma. The defendant was sentenced to 155 months for kidnapping and 120 months for being a felon in possession of a firearm, to run concurrently, followed by five years’ supervised release.

DOJ-DHS-INL in Mexico Host Foreign Law Enforcement Partners at Regional Human Smuggling Roundtable Event

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

On April 5 and 6, in Mexico City, Mexico, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico hosted a collaborative Regional Smuggling Forum and Roundtable event to promote the Bicentennial Agreement. 

Former Sri Lankan Ambassador Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Sri Lankan Government

Friday, April 1, 2022

Former Sri Lankan Ambassador Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Sri Lankan Government. Attempted to Embezzle $332,027 During the Purchase of a New Embassy Building.

Vermont Man Sentenced to 27 Years for Murder- and Kidnap-for-Hire Scheme and Child Pornography Offenses

Thursday, March 30, 2022

A Vermont man was sentenced today to 27 years in prison for paying a woman in Venezuela to make videos for his sexual pleasure in which victims were sadistically abused and at least one video in which he demanded a victim be killed.

More News

Teresa McHenry
Hope Olds
Acting Chief
Michael Sheckels
Acting Principal Deputy
Eli Rosenbaum
Counselor for War Crimes Accountability and Director, Human Rights Enforcement Strategy and Policy
Rami Badawy
Acting Deputy Chief (Human Smuggling)
Courtney Spivey Urschel
Deputy Chief (Human Rights)
Jay Bauer
Acting Deputy Chief (International Violent Crime)
HRSP Direct Line
(202) 616-2492