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H.R. 3851: War Crimes Rewards Expansion Act

H.R. 3851 would explicitly authorize the Department of State to offer awards under its War Crimes Rewards Program for crimes that would be prosecuted in United States courts under the laws and statutes of the United States.

Background Under the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956, the Secretary of State is authorized to offer rewards of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of individuals responsible for certain forms of international terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and organized crime. This includes foreign nationals arrested or convicted “in any country” or “by an international criminal tribunal” for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

H.R. 3851 would eliminate any questions about whether such rewards can be used in connection with domestic prosecution of foreign nationals in U.S. courts under U.S. law – such as statutes criminalizing war crimes (18 U.S.C. 2441) or genocide (18 U.S.C. 1091) – by adding a reference to “under United States law.”

Last updated Feb 12, 2018. Source: Republican Policy Committee

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Feb 7, 2018.


War Crimes Rewards Expansion Act

(Sec. 2) This bill amends the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 to authorize the Department of State to offer awards under its war crimes rewards program for the arrest or conviction in any country of a foreign national accused of a war crime, a crime against humanity, or genocide as such crime is defined under: (1) U.S. law, or (2) the statutes of such country or an international criminal tribunal. (Currently, the reference to such crime is as defined only by an international criminal tribunal.)