WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Senate confirmed 17 ambassadors Wednesday, including John Shattuck, the State Department's top human rights official, as ambassador to the Czech Republic and former Wyoming Gov. Michael Sullivan as ambassador to Ireland.

But as it cleared a long backlog before quitting for the year, the Senate allowed three other nominations to die on the calendar, including that of gay San Francisco philanthropist James Hormel as ambassador to Luxembourg.

Also allowed to die were Clinton's nominations of two other Californians: state Sen. Diane Watson of Los Angeles as ambassador to Micronesia and Kent M. Wiedemann of San Mateo as ambassador to Cambodia.

Shattuck held the human rights job at state for the past five years, pushing to prosecute war criminals in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. He will serve in Prague as the Czech Republic _ along with Hungary and Poland _ joins NATO next year in the first expansion of the Western alliance since the end of the Cold War.

A native of Cambridge, Mass., Shattuck worked eight years for the American Civil Liberties Union and was vice president of Harvard University, where he also taught human rights and civil liberties law, before joining the State Department in 1993.

Sullivan, who served two terms as governor of Wyoming from 1987 to 1995, replaces Jean Kennedy Smith, sister of President John F. Kennedy, as ambassador to Ireland.

The Senate also confirmed career diplomat Robert Patrick John Finn to be U.S. ambassador to Tajikistan. Finn, of New York, has been deputy chief of mission at the American Embassy in Zagreb, Croatia, since 1995. In 1992, he opened the U.S. Embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Also confirmed were: E. William Crotty of Florida as ambassador to Barbados; Robert C. Felder of Florida as ambassador to Benin; Simon Ferro of Florida as ambassador to Panama; Richard H. Jones of Nebraska as ambassador to the Republic of Kazakstan; James V. Ledesma of California as ambassador to the Gabonese Republic.

Joseph H. Melrose Jr. of Pennsylvania as ambassador to the Republic of Sierra Leone; George Mu of California as ambassador to the Ivory Coast; B. Lynn Pascoe of Virginia as ambassador to Malaysia; Robert C. Perry of Virginia as ambassador to the Central African Republic.

Kathryn Dee Robinson of Tennessee as ambassador to the Republic of Ghana; George McDade Staples of Kentucky as ambassador to the Republic of Rwanda; Joseph G. Sullivan of Virginia as ambassador to the Republic of Angola; John M. Yates of Washington, D.C., as ambassador to the Republic of Cameroon; and C. Donald Johnson Jr., of Georgia, as chief textile negotiator, with the rank of ambassador.