The US Congress has sent revised Rewards for Justice legislation to the president’s desk for his signature. The new bill expands the scope of the existing rewards program to cover individuals indicted by any international criminal tribunal for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes,
"This bill responds to the need to develop more tools to pursue the world’s worst. Target one is Joseph Kony, the murderous head of the LRA. U.S. military advisors working in Central Africa consider a reward offer on Kony as critical to their effort. This action bolsters the hunt.”
- Ed Royce, future chair of the House Foreign Affairs committee
The State Department’s Rewards for Justice Program currently authorizes the payment of rewards to people who provide information leading to the arrest or conviction of individuals wanted by select international criminal tribunals for committing the most serious human rights violations, as well as those sought for terrorism and narcotics-related offenses. The new legislation would expand the program to target 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
President Barack Obama put aside his threat of a veto and signed a Defense Authorization bill that severely limits the administration’s ability to move detainees out of Guantanamo Bay, but included a signing statement suggesting he might challenge the provisions.
His signature means indefinite detention without charge or trial, as well as the illegal military commissions, will be extended. He also has jeopardized his ability to close Guantanamo during his presidency. Scores of men who have already been held for nearly 11 years without being charged with a crime—including more than 80 who have been cleared for transfer—may very well be imprisoned unfairly for yet another year.
Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.
On January 1, the UN Security Council placed targeted economic sanctions on two rebel groups operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: the March 23 Movement and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda or FDLR. Both groups are accused of war crimes in the DRC’s eastern region. On January 3, the US Department of Treasury incorporated those sanctions into US law by adding both groups to the Office of Foreign Asset Control’s Specially Designated National List
Relying on universal jurisdiction created by its ratification and incorporation of the Torture Convention, the United Kingdom arrested a Nepali army officer accused of torture during that country’s brutal civil war.The army officer, who has not yet been named and is reportedly a UK resident, is alleged to have committed serious human rights violations during Nepal’s internal conflict between Maoist combatants and government forces.
Those responsible for committing torture in Nepal can no longer assume they are beyond the reach of the law in other countries.
The lesson for the Nepal government and army is that it is time to end the culture of impunity that has left victims waiting for justice for far too long. Nepal failed to prosecute anyone for torture during the decade-long civil war in the nearly seven years since it ended.
- Human Rights Watch press release on arrest
According to a district court ruling released today, the US government does not have to publicly disclose its legal justification for its targeted killing program
The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me; but after careful and extensive consideration, I find myself stuck in a paradoxical situation in which I cannot solve a problem because of contradictory constraints and rules—a veritable Catch-22.
I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the Executive Branch of our Government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret.”
- Judge Colleen McMahon of the District Court of the Southern District of New York, in her summary judgment motion quashing the ACLU’s FOIA appeal.