David Tolbert is president of the International Center for Transitional Justice, a global human rights organization. Previously he served as registrar (assistant secretary-general) of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and prior to that was assistant secretary-general and special expert to the United Nations secretary-general on United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials.
From 2004 to 2008 Tolbert served as deputy chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). He had previously been the deputy registrar of the ICTY and at an earlier time served at the ICTY as chef de cabinet to President Gabrielle Kirk McDonald and Senior Legal Adviser, Registry, serving a total of nine years at the ICTY.
From 2000 to 2003 Tolbert held the position of executive director of the American Bar Association’s Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative, which manages rule-of-law development programs throughout Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. He also held the position of chief, General Legal Division of the United Nations Relief Works Agency in Vienna, Austria and Gaza. In addition, he taught international law and human rights at the post-graduate level in the United Kingdom and practiced law for many years in the United States.
Tolbert was Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and served as a member of the American Society of International Law Task Force on United States Policy Toward the International Criminal Court (ICC) during 2008 and 2009. He has a number of publications on international criminal justice, the ICTY, and the ICC, in the Harvard Human Rights Journal, The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, and other journals and books. Tolbert frequently lectures and makes public appearances on international justice issues. He also represented the ICTY in the discussions leading up to the creation of the ICC and the Rome Conference and served as an expert to the ICC Preparatory Committee Inter-Sessional meetings. Tolbert is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.