Ramsey Clark, former U.S. attorney general and human rights activist, dead at 93

By Grant McCool*

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark holds a discussion on the probability of a death or life sentence for Saddam Hussein in Washington October 5, 2006. REUTERS/Jim Young/File Photo

(REUTERS) – NEW YORK -Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who helped shape U.S. civil rights law during the Johnson administration but went on to travel the globe to fight human rights abuses by his own country as he saw them, has died at age 93.

Clark, one of the architects of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Civil Rights Act of 1968, died on Friday, family member Sharon Welch said, according to media outlets including the New York Times and the Washington Post.

In a lengthy career of representing unpopular causes, Clark defended or gave advice to Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, Liberian political figure Charles Taylor and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.

Domestically he was active for conservative politician Lyndon LaRouche, Branch Davidian leader David Koresh and antiwar activist the Reverend Philip Berrigan.

In the 1990s, he helped found the leftist International Action Center in New York, which drew attention in 1999 for street protests condemning the U.S.-led NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

In an interview with Reuters in July 2001 as he was preparing to give Milosevic legal advice on charges filed by a U.N. international war crimes tribunal, Clark discussed his commitment to human rights.

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