Last week, we were excited to report the Obama Administration’s announcement that three top LRA commanders — Joseph Kony, Okot Odhiambo, and Dominic Ongwen — were officially added to the State Department’s War Crimes Rewards Program. This enables the U.S. government to offer up to $5 million to anyone that provides information leading to the arrest or conviction of these top LRA leaders. This new development is the result of legislation that passed earlier this year, thanks in large part to the relentless lobbying of thousands of Invisible Children activists.

This week, our Director of Civic Engagement, Lisa Dougan, joined a special Google+ Hangout conversation with U.S. Ambassador for Global Criminal Justice, Stephen Rapp, and Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, to discuss last week’s announcement, and the role that the War Crimes Reward can play in helping to end LRA violence.


The 30-minute discussion, which was broadcast live on the State Department’s website, is available to watch below. Here are a few highlights:

  • Ambassador Rapp explained this new expansion of the War Crimes Rewards program and emphasized that it is not a bounty. Rather, the rewards are only provided to individuals if information they provide leads to the arrest, transfer, or conviction of specific wanted criminals.
  • ICC Chief Prosecutor Bensouda thanked the U.S. government for this new expansion of the War Crimes Rewards Program, because she believes it will strengthen and further legitimize the work of the ICC.
  • Mark Quarterman of The Enough Project praised the new steps taken by the State Department and expressed encouragement that the U.S. has taken another step towards closer cooperation with the ICC.
  • Lisa Dougan thanked the Administration and Congress for this encouraging new step, and praised the activists who lobbied their representatives to help make it all possible. She also emphasized that, while this new rewards program has great potential to help encourage LRA defections and bring Joseph Kony to justice, it will only be useful as long as the United States stays committed to it’s overall mission to address LRA violence. That includes making sure that the U.S. advisor mission continues in Central African Republic, where it is temporarily stalled at present.
  • Learn more about our IC|Citizen team [HERE]