The United States wants to bring more war criminals to justice.
The United States wants to bring more war criminals to justice. That's why U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently announced new steps the State Department is taking to do just that.
One such step is the recent expansion of the War Crimes Rewards Program. The State Department is now offering up to $5 million for information that leads to the arrest, transfer, or conviction of the top three leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army, or LRA: Joseph Kony, Okot Odhiambo, and Dominic Ongwen; as well as Sylvestre Mudacumura, the commander of a rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC. All four leaders are charged with war crimes or crimes against humanity.
The United States is actively supporting regional efforts to bring Kony and his top LRA commanders to justice and to end the threat posed to civilians by the LRA. The LRA is broken down into small bands of rebels, scattered throughout dense jungle, and thus remains difficult to find. "But we know," said Secretary Kerry, "that rewards have a proven track record of generating tips that help authorities find fugitives and hold them accountable. "
Sylvestre Mudacumura, as the military commander of the rebel group the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, is alleged to have ordered brutal attacks on civilians in North and South Kivu provinces of the DRC, including rape, murder, torture, and pillaging.
The program also continues to offer rewards for alleged perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Nineteen years after over 800,000 Rwandans were killed in the genocide, nine of the men wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for allegedly planning, organizing and carrying out the genocide remain free. The United States is still offering up to five million dollars for information leading to the arrest of these fugitives, including Felicien Kabuga, Protais Mpiranya, and Augustin Bizimana.
Anyone with information can help bring these criminals to justice. Simply contact the U.S. government through any of its embassies or through its website: www.state.gov/warcrimesrewards
"Impunity," wrote Secretary of State Kerry, in announcing the program, "is the enemy of peace. Accountability is essential to preventing atrocities from taking place in the future. We are putting all who would violate these simple principles on notice: Your days are numbered."