Kony 2012 may have been an Internet rage last year, but Kony 2013 is more profitable.
Under an expansion of the authority for the War Crimes Rewards Program announced today by the State Department, rewards of up to $5 million are being offered for information leading to the arrest, transfer, or conviction of fugitives such as Joseph Kony of the Lord’s Resistance Army.
The Department of State Rewards Program Update and Technical Corrections Act of 2012 was the last legislation of John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) passed during his time as a senator.
“We act so that there can be justice for the innocent men, women, and children who have been subjected to mass murder, rape, amputation, enslavement, and other atrocities,” Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice Ambassador Stephen J. Rapp said in announcing the new designations today. “With this program we also send a message to others who may perpetrate such crimes: ‘there will be the means to bring you to account.’”
In addition to Kony, the list includes LRA leaders Okot Odhiambo, and Dominic Ongwen, Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) leader Sylvestre Mudacumura, and nine fugitives from the Rwandan genocide: Felicien Kabuga, Protais Mpiranya, Augustin Bizimana, Fulgence Kayishema, Pheneas Munyarugarama, Aloys Ndimbati, Ladislas Ntaganzwa, Charles Ryandikayo, and Charles Sikubwabo.
The U.S. government will consider offering protection to tipsters in addition to the rewards.
“I know coming forward takes guts, particularly when we are asking for information about notorious criminals like Kony. Let me assure you that the security of our informants is a priority of the War Crimes Rewards Program,” said Secretary of State John Kerry. “The United States does not announce the names of informants even when a reward payment has been made — and we always make good on our payments.”
The announcement comes as Uganda has suspended the hunt for Kony, citing a lack of cooperation after a coup in the Central African Republic. A hundred U.S. troops have been supporting that mission.
“It is my hope that Uganda’s suspension of operations in the hunt for Kony and the LRA will be resolved soon and that multilateral operations will quickly resume. Now is not the time to give up the search,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.). “In expanding its Rewards for Justice program today to include a $5 million reward for the apprehension of Kony and other LRA leaders, the United States has reasserted its commitment to bringing their reign of terror in the region to an end.”