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house Bill H.R. 1819

Should the State Dept. Offer Bounties to Apprehend Suspected War Criminals for Prosecution?

Argument in favor

The State Department’s program that offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest or conviction of war criminals needs the clarity that it can target individuals who would be prosecuted domestically, not just by international tribunals.

P's Opinion
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09/23/2019
Start with Trump. He is starting wars and collusion with our enemies.
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Aaron's Opinion
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09/22/2019
Yes. And the state department should offer money to apprehend this criminal administration when they’re voted out of office and flee the country to avoid prison
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Nick's Opinion
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09/22/2019
I hope we start with Rumsfeld, Bush and Cheney.
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Argument opposed

The War Crimes Rewards Program should only be used to pay bounties to apprehend war criminals who would be prosecuted by international tribunals, not those that would be tried under the law of the U.S. or other countries.

Jim's Opinion
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09/22/2019
In light of recent events and the failure of our system of checks and balances arethe lack of respect for the rule of law , I would worry about abuse by the executive branch..in fact that and climate change are about the only things I worry about anymore. So NO WAY.
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Mark's Opinion
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09/22/2019
Will they honor warrants for Donald Trump, and his administration’s crimes against humanity? If not, then no.
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Hillary's Opinion
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09/22/2019
Being paid to hunt down human beings like trophy animals is appalling.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
    IntroducedMarch 18th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 1819?

This bill would clarify that the State Dept. is authorized use its War Crimes Rewards Program to obtain information leading to the arrest or conviction of individuals suspected of committing war crimes who haven’t been charged by an international tribunal. The State Dept. would be permitted to offer rewards for crimes that would be prosecuted under the laws and statutes of the U.S. and other countries. The program offers cash awards of up to $5 million, but it is unclear whether current law allows it to be used to target individuals who haven’t been charged with war crimes by an international tribunal. Rewards can only be paid for information related to specific individuals designated by the State Dept.

Impact

The State Department’s War Crimes Rewards Program.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1819

The CBO has no basis for estimating whether the State Department would offer more rewards as a result of this change.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and original cosponsor Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to clarify that rewards can be offered for war crimes prosecutions that take place under domestic law, as current law appears to confine their use to prosecutions before an international tribunal:

“The War Crimes Rewards Expansion Act would clarify this ambiguity, ensuring that the WCRP can be used for prosecutions  that take place under domestic law — including U.S. law or the law of another country — in addition to the laws of international tribunals. This clarification will build on the WCRP’s success, providing the State Department with clear authority to use rewards for a wider range of prosecutions. Under certain circumstances, atrocities can be prosecuted with the greatest impact in national courts, within the societies in which the crimes occurred. Doing so can help ensure the parties understand the law, witnesses have access to the trials, and public awareness is maximized.”

After this bill passed the House in the 115th Congress, Rep. Foxx said

“A number of courts and tribunals around the world have made it their mission to investigate and convict terrorists and perpetrators of human rights abuses. Unfortunately due to certain limitations, not all courts are equally equipped to accomplish this task. Each year, the War Crimes Rewards Program – run by the State Department – designates financial incentives to individuals in exchange for information regarding the whereabouts of fugitives from international criminal tribunals. While this program has been successful, I have fought to strengthen our domestic courts in the fight against those who commit crimes of atrocity, such as ISIS. In order to bring these fugitive terrorists to justice, we must arm domestic courts with the ability to prosecute these criminals under the United States’ banner of justice, rather than relying solely on international tribunals. This legislation is critical to ensuring that the members of our justice community at home are fully prepared to take on ISIS fugitives, and will hopefully protect future victims from ISIS genocide and the world’s worst human-rights abusers.”

This bill has five bipartisan cosponsors, including three Democrats and two Republicans, in the 116th Congress.

Last Congress, this bill passed the House unanimously with the support of seven bipartisan cosponsors, including four Republicans and three Democrats. However, it didn't receive a Senate vote and therefore didn't become law last Congress.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock)

AKA

To amend the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 to provide for rewards for the arrest or conviction of certain foreign nationals who have committed genocide or war crimes, and for other purposes.

Official Title

To amend the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 to provide for rewards for the arrest or conviction of certain foreign nationals who have committed genocide or war crimes, and for other purposes.

    They can begin by charging 45.
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    In light of recent events and the failure of our system of checks and balances arethe lack of respect for the rule of law , I would worry about abuse by the executive branch..in fact that and climate change are about the only things I worry about anymore. So NO WAY.
    Like (72)
    Follow
    Share
    Start with Trump. He is starting wars and collusion with our enemies.
    Like (61)
    Follow
    Share
    Will they honor warrants for Donald Trump, and his administration’s crimes against humanity? If not, then no.
    Like (61)
    Follow
    Share
    Being paid to hunt down human beings like trophy animals is appalling.
    Like (32)
    Follow
    Share
    Is trump pitching a new reality TV show?
    Like (27)
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    Yes. And the state department should offer money to apprehend this criminal administration when they’re voted out of office and flee the country to avoid prison
    Like (27)
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    If we are not in a declared war with an adversary: Bounties for "SUSPECTED" war criminals- NO. This is way too open for abuse. Bounties for "INDICTED" war criminals- Possibly, depending upon judicial review to assure this is not being used for political purposes or to force a foreign power to submit to US pressure. I think we need to be very careful about funding bounty hunters that are not sanctioned as well by a plurality of our long-term allies.
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    I hope we start with Rumsfeld, Bush and Cheney.
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    Suspecting someone of a crime is not a legal basis to condemn anyone in a court of law in the US. People are innocent until proven guilty.
    Like (16)
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    What war are we talking about? WWI or WWII? The others have not been declared wars. WWI are all dead, WWII most are dead that had any authority to perform criminal war acts. Is this really coming from someone within this administration? Oh my god Bernie or Biden stand a chance. In reality shouldn’t this be left up to the United Nations?
    Like (14)
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    If this passes, Dick Cheney should be the first person apprehended.
    Like (13)
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    We already pay people to find and apprehend those suspected of high crimes against the State. We don’t need bounties, nor wanna-be officers with weapons bounty hunting! No, nope, not a good idea!!!
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    I fully support and recommend passage. The United States has been at the forefront of prosecuting war crimes since WW1 and 2 and should set the example for other nations. #MAGA
    Like (8)
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    Yea. Start with Trump and his administration, Moscow Mitch and his cronies and henchmen, and then move on to Saudi Arabia and the rest
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    If the person has already been tried and convicted (and not done in absentia) and is not in custody, then a bounty may be appropriately considered. Not, however, if crimes are only suspected. That alone would appear to violate due process on it’s face. There are also too many opportunities for things to go “wrong” and innocent people hurt or killed. While it is true that the rule of law is increasingly threatened and increasingly meaningless in this country, do we really want to go further down that path?
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    The military industrial complex creates new enemies every day. No No No. Bring our people in uniform home and let them fight their own battles.
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    This would cause an increase in renegade bounty hunters and would endanger citizens of the United States
    Like (4)
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    Who is going to determine who is a war criminal?
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    THIS SHOULD INCLUDE TRUMP AND STEPHEN MILLER, PLUS A PLETHORS OF OTHER REPUBLICANS!
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