- January 17, 2013
- From Congress
Yesterday, we were honored to join President Obama for the signing of a bill that authorizes rewards of up to $5 million for information that leads to the arrest of wanted war criminals, including LRA leader Joseph Kony. The measure provides an exciting new tool for efforts to end LRA atrocities in central Africa.
As a result of the legislation, anyone indicted by “international, hybrid, or mixed tribunals for genocide, war crimes, or crimes against humanity” are newly eligible targets of the U.S. “Rewards for Justice” program. Now that the bill has become law, the State Department is likely to announce a financial reward for information that leads to the arrest of Kony and his top deputies in the coming weeks.
An official statement issued by President Obama specifically names Kony as the first target for the new program and reaffirms U.S. commitment to help stop mass violence wherever it occurs. “This powerful new tool can be used to help bring to justice perpetrators of the worst crimes known to human kind. This includes individuals such as Joseph Kony and other leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army… We have made unmistakably clear that the United States is committed to seeing war criminals and other perpetrators of atrocities held accountable for their crimes,” he said.
Activists all across the country, mobilized for the “Kony 2012” campaign, lobbied for the bill’s passage since it was first introduced in February of last year. Dozens of Members of Congress responded by sponsoring the bill and affirming its potential to help bring Kony to justice and stop LRA attacks.
A statement from Representative Ed Royce (R-CA), the bill’s original author and incoming Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, celebrated the bill’s passage. “This bill responds to the need to develop more tools to pursue the world’s worst. Target one is Joseph Kony, the murderous head of the LRA. U.S. military advisors working in Central Africa consider a reward offer on Kony as critical to their effort. This action bolsters the hunt.”
Senator John Kerry (D-MA), the former Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and President Obama’s nominee to become the next U.S. Secretary of State, introduced the Senate version of the bill. Other key champions included Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Chris Coons (D-DE), and John Boozman (R-AR), and Mary Landrieu (D-LA).
The Resolve was privileged to be represented at the bill’s signing. We will be working in the coming months to help see it implemented effectively, so stay tuned.