The United States government is seeking help from the general public and specifically from the African diaspora in an effort to ensure human rights violators and war criminals do not find a safe haven here. If you have information about any foreign government official, military, police, or members of an armed group that you believe perpetrated serious human rights violations or war crimes and has come to the US--please talk to US law enforcement. This information can help hold criminals accountable. This idea was at the core of the Africa Human Rights NGO Round Table that Africa Faith and Justice Network was invited to on October 10, 2012 by the US Department of Justice Human Rights and Special Prosecutions (HRSP).
Every year, the US welcomes people from different nations across the globe. Some of them have been victims or know people who have been victims of all kinds of atrocities in their home country.
It is possible for a victim of a crime to casually run into their attacker at a store, a place of worship, or on the street here in the US. In May 2011, the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) received information from a Ethiopian-American who had recently encountered Mr. Kefelegn Alemu Worku, a former prison guard who took part in the “Red Terror” campaign in the 1970s during which men, women and children were tortured and executed. The Justice Department turned the encounter into an opportunity to serve long-overdue justice for the victim. This is one of many cases which you can read about here.
The justice department works in collaboration with other US agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of State. The US Congress enacted some statutes that enable law enforcement to prosecute criminal offences such as torture, war crimes, genocide and recruitment of child soldiers. A perpetuator can also be prosecuted by finding false statements or fraud in their immigration or naturalization files.
Furthermore, if criminal prosecution is not possible in the US, the perpetrator’s visa can be revoked or be denaturalized if the perpetrator had obtained US citizenship. In 2011, President Obama issued a proclamation expanding the authority of Homeland Security and the Department of State to deny visas to people accused of serious crimes and human rights violations.
Thus, if you know of individuals who committed these crimes and are traveling the world and or plan to travel to the US you are encouraged to help stop him or her from entering the US by giving any information at your disposal to US law enforcement. They will investigate and put the individual on a no-entry list for the US.
If the perpetrator is a US citizen and a former military or current or former contractor and committed crimes such as murder, manslaughter, assault and other violent crimes outside the US, the US Department of Justice can prosecute the perpetrator under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA) or the Special Maritime and Territorial Jurisdiction (SMTJ). This is the case of Steven D. Green and other soldiers who raped Qassim Al –Janabi, a 14-year old Iraqi girl. He was sentenced to five concurrent terms of life in prison.
Information for Victims of Crima: toll-free number at 1-866-872-4973
– U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division:
Call 1-800-813-5863 or e-mail You do not have to identify yourself when providing information.
Learn more:
Liberian human rights violator removed from US
First-ever removal under the Child Soldiers Accountability Act
Roy Belfast Jr., A/K/A Chuckie Taylor, Sentenced on Torture Charges
Former Guatemalan Special Forces Soldier Pleads Guilty to Making False Statements on Immigration Forms Regarding 1982 Massacre of Guatemalan Villagers
By Jacques Bahati, Policy Analyst