Genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes are the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole. They have a lasting impact on societies and can continue to destabilize the safety and security of communities, regions and nations for decades after they occur.
Governments, civil society and international criminal tribunals cannot address all the challenges in this area on their own. As the world’s largest international police organization, INTERPOL possesses the police networks, technical tools and mandate to complement the ongoing efforts in the area of war crimes.
INTERPOL has been cooperating with the United Nations International Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda since 1994. The INTERPOL General Assembly has adopted several resolutions increasing the Organization’s support to its member countries and partner organizations in the investigation and prosecution of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
At INTERPOL, the Fugitive Investigative Support Sub-directorate undertakes three main areas of activity to support the investigation of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, and the location and apprehension of criminals connected with these crimes:
We provide operational support to international justice institutions such as the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), as well as to the increasing number of war crime units in our member countries. More than 1,100 INTERPOL Red Notices have been issued for these types of crime and the number continues to grow every year.
The Rwandan Genocide Fugitives Project was set up in 2004 with the Rwandan National Prosecution Service and the ICTR to target the outstanding fugitives wanted by these two bodies. Since then, more than 35 fugitives who were the subjects of INTERPOL Red Notices have been arrested.
Within the framework of Project Basic (Broadening Analysis on Serious International Crimes), which targets fugitives wanted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, INTERPOL cooperates with national authorities and international institutions to locate, arrest and develop information concerning individuals suspected of these crimes.
Training and development
The investigation of war crimes requires specialist training. At INTERPOL, we play a key role in enhancing capability among investigators of these serious international crimes.
Our International Training Course on Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity has seen some 100 investigators from 30 countries and six international organizations trained in the most up-to-date investigative skills. The training course addressed crucial aspects of investigating serious international crimes, such as handling witnesses, forensic evidence related to mass atrocities, sexual- and gender-based violence in conflict situations and issues related to the status of refugees. Sessions were delivered by experts from organizations including United Nations Tribunals, the International Criminal Court, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
INTERPOL maintains contacts on training issues with organizations such as the Institute for International Criminal Investigations.
We strive to develop strategic partnerships and specialist networks in this area, to allow the sharing of expertise and to maximize the impact of our initiatives on an international level.
The INTERPOL International Expert Meeting on Genocide, War crimes, and Crimes against Humanity provides a forum for information and discussion among specialists and is part of INTERPOL’s ongoing support in developing global expertise in this area.
We also participate in and coordinate activities with other networks such as the European Union Network of Contact Points and the ICC.