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International Legal Materials

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international law, criminal law, criminal tribunals, ICC


Criminal Law | International Law | Law


For nearly three decades, the United States has offered monetary rewards designed to facilitate the apprehension and transfer for trial of suspects when their trial would directly advance American national interests. In the 1990s, for example, posters and matchbooks appeared across the Balkans with contact information available to anyone who might be willing to assist in the transfer of Slobodan Miloševic´ or Radovan Karadžic´ to face charges before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugloslavia. In Congress’s view, this rewards program has helped to generate actionable intelligence that has prevented terrorist attacks, aided convictions of key suspects charged with participation in other acts of international terror, and served as “one of the most valuable assets the U.S. Government has in the fight against international terrorism.” In his public comments introducing this legislation, the United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes acknowledged that fourteen payments were made under existing legislation in the two years prior to passage of this bill, averaging $400,000 per person.Details remain classified of course, but the rewards have provided instrumental incentives in numerous high profile cases, inter alia, the arrest of the architect of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the deaths of Uday and Qusay Hussein at the hands of American military forces following the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

In light of the interconnected landscape of international law and global U.S. interests, the Department of State Rewards Program Update and Technical Corrections Act of 2012 (2012 Act) modernizes U.S. law in two important ways. First, it expands the ability of U.S. officials to offer rewards for information leading to the arrest or conviction of any individual participating in transnational organized crime. Second, it makes similar rewards available to support prosecution in domestic or hybrid international tribunals.



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