Today George Clooney, through the Clooney Foundation for Justice, gave a $1 million gift to The Sentry to kick off its “Making War Criminals Pay” fundraising campaign.
With increased investigative capacity, The Sentry – an initiative of the Enough Project and Not On Our Watch – will dramatically increase its production of dossiers focused on war criminals and their financial networks. The Sentry’s dossiers are being turned over to banks and governments in order to lay the foundation for serious action by regulatory and law enforcement authorities around the world, aimed at prosecuting or seizing the assets of those who finance and benefit from genocide or other war crimes.
In addition to George Clooney’s generous grant, The Sentry is pleased to announce leadership gifts from: Don Cheadle, Carl Allen, Ruben Vardanyan, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, and three major donors who wish to remain anonymous. Including the Clooney Foundation grant, these gifts total $3.45 million. To reach their campaign goal of $6 million, The Sentry will seek to raise an additional $2.55 million.
The Sentry is a team of policy analysts, regional experts, and financial forensic investigators that follows the money in order to create consequences for those funding and profiting from genocide or other mass atrocities in Africa, and to build leverage for peace.
Announcing his gift, George Clooney, co-founder of The Sentry, said: “Our focus is to make sure that war crimes don’t pay. We want to make it more difficult for those willing to kill en masse to secure their political and economic objectives. When we’re able to go after the warlords’ wallets and bankrupt those who choose the bullet over the ballot, suddenly the incentives are for peace, not war; transparency, not corruption.”
Sentry co-founder John Prendergast added: “The Sentry is pursuing a new strategy to counter mass atrocities that would utilize the tools of financial pressure normally reserved for countering terrorism, organized crime, and nuclear proliferation. We aim to undermine the pillars of the war economy and disrupt the financial flows that fuel conflict. Unless the links between conflict and corruption are confronted, peace will remain a distant dream.”
With the Clooney Foundation gift and additional campaign donations, The Sentry will also be able to increase its capacity for public reporting based on material from these dossiers. Over the coming year, reports will be published focusing on state looting and illicit financial flows out of the war-torn countries of South Sudan, Sudan, Congo, Somalia, and the Central African Republic.
As part of its efforts, The Sentry has also been an active partner in the #KeepThePromise (www.thepromisetoact.org) campaign aimed at countering genocide and educating the world about past atrocities such as the Armenian Genocide. The Sentry and its partners Enough and Not On Our Watch will expand its activities in that partnership over the coming year.