War Crimes Rewards Program

The State Department has long administered a number of rewards programs to incentivize assistance to justice efforts, including in connection with the defendants of the three ad hoc tribunals focused on the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone. In 2013, Congress—with strong bipartisan support—expanded the authority of the Secretary of State to offer rewards up to $5 million under the War Crimes Rewards Program (WCRP). Specifically, the legislation authorized the Secretary to offer rewards for information that leads to the arrest, transfer to or conviction by any “international criminal tribunal,” including the ICC, rather than only the three tribunals that had previously been eligible.  Soon thereafter, in May 2013, the State Department announced an offer of rewards of up to $5 million under the WCRP for information on four suspects, including three from the Lord’s Resistance Army for whom the ICC had issued arrest warrants: Joseph Kony, Okot Odhiambo, and Dominic Ongwen.  The United States also approved a rewards offer for information on Bosco Ntaganda.  (Two of these suspects, Ongwen and Ntaganda, were subsequently surrendered to the Court with assistance of the United States, see Section on Support in the Arrest and Surrender of Fugitives). The law was amended again in 2018 to cover potential defendants involved in international crimes in Syria.