Colonel Linda Strite Murnane
United States Air Force, Retired
Colonel Linda Strite Murnane (U.S. Air Force, Retired) is “Of Counsel” with the Cusack Law Office, LLC, in Beavercreek, Ohio.
Colonel Murnane previously served as the Chief, Court Management Services Section for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon Leidschendam, The Netherlands and as the Chief, Court Management at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, in The Hague, The Netherlands. In addition to that position, she served two years as the Acting Senior Legal Officer for Trial Chamber III at the Yugoslavia Tribunal. As the Chief Court Management Services Section at the Lebanon and Yugoslavia Tribunals, she was responsible for the electronic filing and evidence systems, and the support teams comprised of lawyers and other legal support staff proving in court services which operated in English, French and Arabic or Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian. While at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon she was also designated as the Independent Commissioner and, upon assignment, investigated allegations of misconduct involving defence (European spelling convention) counsel and legal representatives of victims who appear before the Tribunal. While at the Yugoslavia Tribunal, she led teams totaling about 40 staff involved in the daily operation of the courtrooms in which the trials of alleged war criminals were being conducted under the mandate of the United Nations Security Council. She also was responsible for leading a team responsible for implementing three components of the European Union-funded War Crimes Justice Project, providing training to court professionals and others in the Balkans, transcribing verbatim local language transcripts and providing translation of the ICTY’s Appeals Chamber Case Law Research Tool in Balkan languages. In 2011, she also spent three months as the Acting Head of Chambers for the Tribunal and in 2011 – 2012 she spent four and one-half months as the Acting Deputy Registrar for the Tribunal. While a Senior Legal Officer at the Yugoslavia Tribunal, Colonel Murnane was responsible for preparation of orders, decisions, judgments and support for the international judiciary. Colonel Murnane specifically had responsibility for the cases of Milutinovic, et al. (six accused charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity in Kosovo), Prlic, et al. (six accused charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity involving the Herceg-Bosna leadership), Vojislav Seselj, and Vlastimir Djordjevic. She was also responsible in the pre-trial phase for the cases of Rasim Delic, Stanisic and Simatovic, Momcilo Perisic, Lukic and Lukic, and Radovan Karadzic. While at the Yugoslavia Tribunal Colonel Murnane also served for periods as the Chair of the Disciplinary Panel, and legal officer for the Disciplinary Board.
At various points in her career, Ms. Murnane worked for Western Governors University performing legal research related to compliance and licensure requirements and also with Lexis Nexis assisting with legal research and training as well as delivering continuing legal education programs. Ms. Murnane also served as the Judicial Bailiff for The Honorable Anne Taylor at the Franklin County, Ohio, Municipal Court from 2013 – 2014.
Colonel Murnane served as the Senior International Attorney for the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies from November 2008 until her return to the ICTY in August 2009. Based in Newport, Rhode Island, the Institute is the Department of Defense’s lead agency providing seminars and programs to military personnel and civilian government officials throughout the world dealing with the legal complications of the strategic, operational, and tactical decisions faced by military personnel and civilian professionals as they work to accomplish their missions. She served as the Executive Director for the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights in the United States, a gubernatorial executive cabinet commission, from February 2005 until July 2007. Prior to that, she served for nearly 30 years on active duty with the United States Air Force.
In her Air Force career, Colonel Murnane served in a variety of positions, including ten years as a chief circuit military judge, or military judge. She was the Chief Circuit Judge for Europe and the Eastern Judicial Circuit, Bolling AFB, Washington, D.C. She presided at the first criminal trials for the U.S. Air Force during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom in the war zone, deploying five times in support of those operations between 2001 and 2003.
Colonel Murnane served as the Chief, International, Operations and Civil Law while assigned at U.S. Forces Japan/Fifth Air Force from 1988 – 1991. She was the Deputy Staff Judge Advocate at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, from 1991 – 1993, and the Staff Judge Advocate at Bitburg Air Base, Germany from 1993 – 1994. In each of these positions, she served as an advisor to commanders making decisions employing Rules of Engagement, in the European and Pacific Theaters for U.S. and Joint Forces.
Colonel Murnane has participated in training programs as an adjunct faculty member for the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies, training judges, lawyers and civilian leaders in Liberia, Rwanda, Zambia, Argentina, Latvia, and Papua New Guinea, on a wide range of legal topics.
Colonel Murnane began her career as an Airman Basic, the lowest enlisted grade in the U.S. Air Force, and retired as a colonel in 2004. Her military decorations include the Legion of Merit, and the Meritorious Service Medal with bronze and silver oak leaf cluster.
Colonel Murnane is a Past Chair of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Judicial Division, and a past Chair of the National Conference of Specialized Jurisdiction Court Judges (NCSCJ) for the Judicial Division, and currently serves as the ABA House of Delegates Representative for the NCSCJ. She is a current co-chair of the ABA International Law Section’s International Human Rights Committee. She currently serves on the ABA Section of International Law Executive Council. She is a past Chair and former member of the ABA’s Standing Committee on Armed Forces Law, and a past Co-Chair and current Senior Advisor to the ABA Section of International Law’s U.S. Lawyers Practicing Abroad Committee. She is a member of the ABA’s GP Solo and Small Firm Division, Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division, Criminal Law Section, and State and Local Government Section. She is also a member of the American Judges Association, the International Association of Women Judges, the National Association of Women Judges, the International Association of Court Administrators, and the Federal Bar Association. She serves as the first Chair of the U.S. Chapter of the Pan-American Commission of Judges on Social Justice. She is the chair of the Ohio State Bar Association’s Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.
Colonel Murnane is admitted to the practice of law before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Ohio and Kentucky Supreme Courts, the Federal and Sixth Circuit Courts of Appeals, the U.S. Court of International Trade, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and the Army and Air Force Courts of Criminal Appeals.
In 2019, Colonel Murnane received the Mayre Rasmussen Award from the ABA International Law Section for opening doors for women and minorities in the international law field. In August 2008, she received the Margaret Brent Women of Achievement Award, one of the most prestigious awards presented by the American Bar Association. In 2006, she received the Mattie Belle Davis Award from the National Association of Women Judges, and in 2003, she received the Ohio State Bar Association’s Nettie Cronise Lutes Award for opening doors for women and girls in the field of law.
She attended Loyola University New Orleans Night Law Program, and transferred to the regular law study program when she was selected for the United States Air Force’s Funded Legal Education Program in 1977. She was awarded the American Jurisprudence Award for Academic Excellence in Constitution Law while at Loyola. She transferred to the University of Cincinnati College of Law in the summer of 1978, and was awarded her J.D. degree from the University of Cincinnati, completing her law studies in December 1980.
Colonel Murnane is married to Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Murnane, U.S. Air Force, Retired, who, at the time of his retirement was the Deputy Chief of Strategic Plans for Personnel for the United States Air Force, The Pentagon. They have two children, Christina Veillon and Rachel Lyn Veillon Manuel, both born while Colonel Murnane was attending law school, and three grandchildren.