Rep. Royce Introduces Legislation to Update State Department’s Rewards Program
"Another tool to target the world’s worst," says Terrorism Chair
Feb 17, 2012 -
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, today introduced the "Department of State Rewards Program Update and Technical Corrections Act of 2012," legislation that updates the program to include those involved in transnational organized crime and others wanted for the most serious human rights abuses. Currently, the State Department offers rewards for information related to terrorists, narcotics traffickers and specific international war criminals.
"Put simply, this is another tool to target the world’s worst.
"Expanding this program to include global organized crime responds to the growing evidence that terrorists and insurgents are increasingly turning to criminal networks for funding and support, a topic my subcommittee has explored.
"Targeting those who assist terrorists and drug cartels with weapons, sophisticated forgeries, and money laundering is just as important as targeting the organizations themselves. This legislation provides another tool to do so," said Royce.
The legislation would also allow the use of the rewards program to target those indicted by international, hybrid or mixed tribunals for genocide, war crimes, or crimes against humanity.
"One priority is Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which has terrorized northern Uganda and central Africa for over two decades. An aggressive rewards program seeking information on Kony and top LRA commanders could help generate intelligence on their location and promote defections – both goals of U.S. policy. It is time to end Kony’s reign of terror," concluded Royce.
Background: Since the program’s inception in 1984, the U.S. government has paid rewards to over 70 people who provided actionable intelligence that, according to the State Department, prevented international terrorist attacks or helped convict individuals involved in terrorist acts. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, Royce led Congressional efforts to see that international arms dealer Viktor Bout, arrested in Thailand in 2008, was extradited to the United States to stand trial. In 2010, Royce – a former chair of the Africa Subcommittee – was an original sponsor of the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act. The successful legislation made it the policy of the United States to "apprehend or remove Joseph Kony and his top commanders from the battlefield."