Careers with the FBI’s Genocide and War Crimes Unit

In 1998, a Presidential Executive Order criminalized genocide, torture, war crimes and recruitment of child soldiers.  The FBI was tasked at this time with pursuing and apprehending all suspects of these crimes to face prosecution in U.S. or international courts.  In order to facilitate these investigations, the Genocide and War Crimes Unit (GWCU) was created.

Because of the heinousness of these crimes, the U.S. government has labeled these perpetrators as among the worst of the worst.  These individuals represent a significant threat to world peace and lives everywhere, which is why the FBI devotes precious resources to their capture and prosecution.  In order to accomplish this, the GWCU works with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to help identify any such criminals who may have infiltrated the country.  The GWCU also requests assistance from the public in identifying any suspects.

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Most of the perpetrators of war crimes are at large in other countries, so the GWCU utilizes U.S. personnel posted to foreign lands as well as cooperation from local law enforcement and security forces.  The United States has taken a leadership role in bringing these criminals to justice and often uses the fullest extent of its authority to leverage assistance from foreign governments to identify and capture these perpetrators.

The Special Agents and professionals of GWCU have been instrumental in the capture of war criminals like Slobodan Milosevic, Charles Taylor and Ratko Mladic.  The GWCU is also actively engaged in the pursuit of human rights violators Joseph Kony and his senior commanders.

FBI Genocide and War Crimes Unit Job Description

The members of the GWCU are required to perform the following job functions:

  • Conduct forensic analyses of mass graves and crime scenes
  • Interview witnesses of torture, war crimes or genocide
  • Investigate the locations of hidden or disguised war criminals
  • Apprehend and transfer human rights violators to U.S. or international courts
  • Liaison with U.S. legal attaches in foreign countries to request assistance from local governments
  • Cooperate with U.S. immigration officials to obtain information about war criminals currently residing in the country
  • Monitor the actions of individuals and government as they conduct armed conflicts

FBI Genocide and War Crimes Unit Salary

The GWCU is composed of Special Agents and a variety of support professionals.  Special Agents receive pay grades ranging from GS-10 up to GS-15, while support staff receives ratings from GS-7 up to GS-14. Although all Agents begin their careers at GS-10, professionals may enter at the GS-7, GS-9 or GS-11 level depending upon their academic credentials, military rank, or law enforcement background.  In 2012, the salaries for these pay grades were

General Schedule Grade
Pay Range
General Schedule 7
General Schedule 9
General Schedule 10
General Schedule 11
General Schedule 14
General Schedule 15

All FBI employees receive cost of living adjustments, and all Special Agents receive Law Enforcement Availability Pay, which is an additional 25 percent of salary plus COLA.  Support professionals may also be awarded bonuses based on overtime, availability and hazardous duty.