This bill would clarify that the State Dept. is authorized use its War Crimes Rewards Program to obtain information leading to the arrest or conviction of individuals suspected of committing war crimes who haven’t been charged by an international tribunal. The State Dept. would be permitted to offer rewards for crimes that would be prosecuted under the laws and statutes of the U.S. and other countries. The program offers cash awards of up to $5 million, but it is unclear whether current law allows it to be used to target individuals who haven’t been charged with war crimes by an international tribunal. Rewards can only be paid for information related to specific individuals designated by the State Dept.
What is House Bill H.R. 3851?
Cost of House Bill H.R. 3851
In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and original cosponsor Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) introduced this bill to clarify that rewards can be offered for war crimes prosecutions that take place under domestic law, as current law appears to confine their use to prosecutions before an international tribunal:
“The War Crimes Rewards Expansion Act would clarify this ambiguity, ensuring that the WCRP can be used for prosecutions that take place under domestic law — including U.S. law or the law of another country — in addition to the laws of international tribunals.
This clarification will build on the WCRP’s success, providing the State Department with clear authority to use rewards for a wider range of prosecutions. Under certain circumstances, atrocities can be prosecuted with the greatest impact in national courts, within the societies in which the crimes occurred. Doing so can help ensure the parties understand the law, witnesses have access to the trials, and public awareness is maximized.”
- House Foreign Affairs Committee Press Release
- Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Eliot Engel (D-NY) Letter
- CBO Cost Estimate
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock)
War Crimes Rewards Expansion Act
To amend the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 to provide for rewards for the arrest or conviction of certain foreign nationals who have committed genocide or war crimes, and for other purposes.
- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
Committee on Foreign Relations
- senate Committees
- The house Passed February 8th, 2018Roll Call Vote 407 Yea / 0 Nay
Committee on Foreign AffairsIntroducedSeptember 27th, 2017
- house Committees