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President Obama Signs Rewards for Justice Bill into Law

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President Obama Signs Rewards for Justice Bill into Law

Posted by Carine Umuhumuza on January 16, 2013

President Obama signed legislation into law yesterday that will expand the scope of the Rewards for Justice Program. On hand at the Oval Office signing ceremony were representatives from human rights organizations who have been important supporters in this effort and work on these issues every day, including Enough Project Executive Director John C. Bradshaw (second from left) and our partners from Invisible Children, Resolve, and Humanity United.

"By signing this bill in the presence of leaders of the human rights community, the President has demonstrated his continuing personal commitment to bringing Joseph Kony and other internationally-wanted human rights abusers to justice," said Bradshaw. "This law is also an important step by the U.S. towards a more positive relationship with the International Criminal Court."
The new law is a great victory for human rights defenders who work to promote justice and accountability in many parts of the world. The rewards program, which has been in place since 1984, has previously focused on terrorists and drug traffickers. The new law broadens the scope of the program to allow the State Department to offer rewards in exchange for information leading to the capture of some of the world’s worst human rights offenders. It will allow the State Department to publicize and pay rewards for information on individuals indicted by any international criminal tribunal for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes and foreign nationals involved in transnational criminal activity, including human trafficking and arms trafficking. 

In a written statement, President Obama said: 

This powerful new tool can be used to help bring to justice perpetrators of the worst crimes known to human kind…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, and today’s legislation can help us achieve that goal.


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Photo: Signing ceremony in the Oval Office (White House)