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 this 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 eight fugitives still at large.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an international criminal tribunal, or hybrid or mixed tribunal?

Examples of international criminal tribunals include the ICTY and the ICTR, which the U.N. Security Council created pursuant to its powers under Chapter VII of the UN Charter; and the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is a treaty-based court. A hybrid court is generally understood to be a stand-alone court that is created through an agreement between a national government and an international organization, such as the United Nations. These are usually staffed by a mix of international and national personnel (judges, prosecutors, investigators, defense counsel). For instance, the SCSL was created through an agreement between the United Nations and the government of Sierra Leone. A mixed court is more intimately embedded within the domestic judicial system of the state in question, often by way of specialized chambers. These too are staffed with a mix of local and international personnel.

How can I submit a tip?

Tips regarding any individual designated by the War Crimes Rewards Program can be submitted confidentially here: www.rewardsforjustice.net/english/submit-a-tip.html or by calling toll-free from the United States 1-800-877-3927. Local telephone numbers will be established in certain countries and will be publicized soon. Alternatively, information can be brought to the nearest U.S. Embassy or to any U.S. Government official.

Is it safe to provide information to the WCRP?

The U.S. Government will ensure complete confidentiality to individuals who provide information on war criminals, and, if participation in the program entails significant risk to the individuals, will consider additional protective measures.

Who is eligible to receive rewards?

Any person, including U.S. citizens, who provides information leading to the arrest, transfer, or conviction of a designated individual may be eligible to receive a reward. However, U.S. and foreign government officials, including military and police, are ineligible to receive WCRP rewards if the information is furnished while in the performance of official duties.

Are rewards paid for submitting information about any individual who has been accused by an international criminal tribunal? The Department of State offers rewards for information related only to specific individuals who are designated by the Secretary of State. The fugitives for whom the Department of State may offer rewards are publicized on this website.

How are rewards paid, and in what amounts?

A U.S. Government committee will determine if an award is warranted, and for what amount, taking into consideration several factors, such as the degree of relevancy of the information, the amount of risk the informant took to provide the information, and the seriousness of the allegations against the defendant.

Additional Resources

Transitional Justice Policy Paper Series

This policy paper series was developed to reflect U.S. policy understanding of a range of transitional justice (TJ) mechanisms related to peace-building, accountability, human rights, and reconciliation in post-conflict and post-authoritarian transitions. They were created by the State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, and USAID’s Center for Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance.

05/16/16  Transitional Justice Overview [ PDF version   ]
05/16/16  Truth Commissions [ PDF version   ]
05/16/16  Criminal Prosecutions [ PDF version   ]
05/16/16  Reparations [ PDF version   ]
05/16/16  Lustration and Vetting [ PDF version   ]
05/17/16  Amnesties [ PDF version   ]

International Criminal Tribunals

International Criminal Court

The May 2010 National Security Strategy summarizes current U.S. policy toward the International Criminal Court (ICC) as follows:

From Nuremberg to Yugoslavia to Liberia, the United States has seen that the end of impunity and the promotion of justice are not just moral imperatives; they are stabilizing forces in international affairs. The United States is thus working to strengthen national justice systems and is maintaining our support for ad hoc international tribunals and hybrid courts. Those who intentionally target innocent civilians must be held accountable, and we will continue to support institutions and prosecutions that advance this important interest. Although the United States is not at present a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and will always protect U.S. personnel, we are engaging with State Parties to the Rome Statute on issues of concern and are supporting the I.C.C.’s prosecution of those cases that advance U.S. interests and values, consistent with the requirements of U.S. law.

Although the United States is not a party to the I.C.C.’s Statute, the Obama administration has been prepared to support the court’s prosecutions and provide assistance in response to specific requests from the I.C.C. prosecutor and other court officials, consistent with U.S. law, when it is in U.S. national interest to do so.

Since November 2009, the United States has participated in an observer capacity in meetings of the I.C.C. Assembly of States Parties (ASP). The United States sent an observer delegation to the I.C.C. Review Conference held in Kampala, Uganda from May 31 to June 11, 2010.

Please note that links to non-U.S. Government Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of those sites or the information contained therein.

International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, located in The Hague in the Netherlands, has authority to prosecute individuals for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the former Yugoslavia since 1991. The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 827 establishing the court on May 25, 1993.

The tribunal’s mission is to promote justice for crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia in order to restore peace and security to the region. It seeks to hold individuals who committed serious violations of international humanitarian law accountable, thereby providing justice for victims and deterring future crimes.

Since its inception in 1993, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has presided over trials of defendants accused of committing serious violations of international humanitarian law in present day Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Macedonia. One case of note before the court was the trial of Radislav Krstic, a Bosnian Serb general. The Krstic case resulted in the court’s first successful conviction, held on appeal, related to genocide. Another notable case was the trial of former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. He went on trial on February 12, 2002, defending himself against 66 counts of crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Convention in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. Milosevic died of natural causes on March 11, 2006 before his trial ended. The final two ICTY fugitives, Ratko Mladi? and Goran Had?i?, were apprehended in mid-2011. Mladi?’s trial started in mid-2012, while Had?i?’s trial is not expected to begin until October 2012. Several other defendants’ cases are still on trial or on appeal as of August 2012; any appeals not started by July 1, 2013 will be handled by the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals.

Please note that links to non-U.S. Government Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of those sites or the information contained therein.

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, located in Arusha, Tanzania, has authority to prosecute defendants for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law that occurred in Rwanda between January 1 and December 31, 1994. The court may also prosecute citizens of Rwanda who committed genocide or other serious violations of international law in neighboring countries during the same period. The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 955 establishing the court on November 8, 1994.

Beginning in April 1994, Hutu extremists waged a 100-day campaign that resulted in the murder of at least 800,000 Tutsi men, women, and children, as well as many moderate Hutus. This genocide also included systematic rape and sexual violence against countless Tutsi women and the orphaning of many thousands of children.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda’s mission is to promote justice and accountability for crimes committed in Rwanda and neighboring countries in 1994. By holding high-ranking individuals who committed serious violations of international humanitarian law accountable, the court seeks to deter other countries from perpetrating similar crimes and to end impunity for serious violations of international humanitarian law. One case of note before the court was the trial of Jean-Paul Akayesu, the mayor of Tabu, Rwanda. The Akayesu case resulted in the court’s first successful conviction, held on appeal, related to genocide.

The mandate of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda ended as of June 30, 2012; any trials or appeals started after that date will be handled by the Mechanism for the International Criminal Tribunals. The MICTY is focused on capturing the remaining fugitives and undertaking evidence preservation proceedings under Rule 71 bis for the 3 top-level fugitives.

Please note that links to non-U.S. Government Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of those sites or the information contained therein.

Additional Resources

Please note that links to non-U.S. Government Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of those sites or the information contained therein.

International Criminal Tribunals

U.S. Government Partners

NGO & International Organizations

There are a number of international institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) devoted to conflict resolution, human rights, transitional justice, and international law.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future