President Obama signing legislation expanding
the War Crimes Rewards Program
Under the War Crimes Rewards Program (WCRP), the U.S. Department of State offers rewards of up to $5 million (USD) to individuals who provide information regarding designated defendants who have been charged with the commission of international crimes. Legislation signed on January 15, 2013, expands the authority of the Department of State to provide rewards for information leading to the arrest or conviction in any country, or the transfer to or conviction by any international criminal tribunal, of any foreign national accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide. Prior to the expansion, the War Crimes Rewards Program was limited to individuals indicted by specific international criminal tribunals: the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Under the new legislation, the Department of State, in consultation with relevant offices and agencies, may designate additional foreign nationals charged with the commission of genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity by any international criminal tribunal (including a mixed or hybrid tribunal). The Department of State’s Office of Global Criminal Justice (GCJ) manages the WCRP in close coordination with partners within the U.S. government, foreign governments, international tribunals, and non-governmental organizations.
The WCRP has led to the arrest and capture of fugitives from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The ICTY has accounted for all 161 individuals it has indicted. Meanwhile, the Rwandan tribunal has nine fugitives still at large.