U.S. puts up $5 million reward for Joseph Kony

Olivier Knox

One day after Uganda suspended its hunt for Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony, hampering the search for the notoriously brutal warlord, the U.S. on Wednesday offered up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest or conviction.

The State Department said it would also pay for similar help in catching two of Kony’s senior lieutenants as well as a Rwandan rebel leader. The money is available under the War Crimes Rewards Program.

Kony is thought to be in the Central African Republic, where rebels seized power last month. Uganda said those insurgents have proved hostile to African-led efforts to find and capture the warlord, who surged to international infamy in part thanks to the "Kony 2012" video (part of a campaign that was itself quite a bit controversial). About 100 U.S. special forces have helped in the manhunt.

“We act so that there can be justice for the innocent men, women and children who have been subjected to mass murder, rape, amputation, enslavement and other atrocities,” U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice Stephen Rapp said as he announced the new bounties.

“With this program we also send a message to others who may perpetrate such crimes: ‘There will be the means to bring you to account,’” Rapp added. A department fact sheet noted that “designated individuals themselves are ineligible to receive rewards, as are U.S. and foreign government officials, including military and police, if the information is furnished while in the performance of official duties.”

Also, "Tips regarding any individual designated by the WCRP can be submitted confidentially at the WCRP website: www.state.gov/warcrimesrewards, from the United States via the toll-free telephone number 1-800-877-3927, or overseas by contacting a local U.S. embassy.”