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07 November 2007 - Media release

INTERPOL General Assembly upholds Executive Committee decision on AMIA Red Notice dispute

MARRAKESH – Delegates at the 76th INTERPOL General Assembly have upheld the unanimous decision made by the organization’s Executive Committee to publish six out of nine Red Notices requested in connection with the 1994 bombing of the AMIA building in Buenos Aires.

The General Assembly, INTERPOL’s supreme governing body, voted in favour of publishing the notices requested by the Argentinean National Central Bureau (NCB) for the following six individuals; Imad Fayez Moughnieh, Ali Fallahijan, Mohsen Rabbani, Ahmad Reza Asghari, Ahmad Vahidi and Mohsen Rezai.

In November 2006, NCB Buenos Aires requested the INTERPOL General Secretariat to issue Red Notices for nine individuals, eight Iranian nationals and one Lebanese national, in connection with the 1994 bombing of the Israeli-Argentine Mutual Association (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires in which more than 80 people were killed and countless others injured.

NCB Tehran challenged the requested issuance of these Red Notices by NCB Buenos Aires.

Despite extensive efforts by the Executive Committee and the General Secretariat to assist the two parties to resolve the matter bilaterally – efforts recognised by both parties during the General Assembly – no agreement could be obtained from NCB Tehran and NCB Buenos Aires.

In March 2007, the Executive Committee unanimously decided to authorise the issuance of six of the nine Red Notices requested by NCB Buenos Aires. Following an appeal by NCB Tehran against this decision, the publication of the Red Notices was suspended until the matter could be put before the 2007 General Assembly, in accordance with Article 24 of INTERPOL’s Rules on the Processing of Information for the Purposes of Police Co-operation.

The decision reached in March 2007 by the Executive Committee relied on NCB Buenos Aires and the case prosecutor’s presentation that the new Red Notice applications were based on a fresh re-examination of the case and the issuance of new arrest warrants signed by a judge other than Judge Galeano, who had been fired for having acted corruptly in the case.

After long and careful deliberation of all the information and arguments presented by both parties, the Executive Committee concluded that the reasons for having the Red Notices cancelled in 2005 were not present in 2007.

'INTERPOL has treated both National Central Bureaus fairly and impartially and meticulously applied its rules throughout the dispute resolution process, and today’s vote by the General Assembly endorsing the Executive Committee’s decision is the conclusion of that process,' said INTERPOL President Jackie Selebi.

'We continue however to encourage both National Central Bureaus to try and co-operate in this matter on a bilateral basis, and INTERPOL’s General Secretariat is ready to assist in any way.'

Background explanation on Red Notices

Red Notices, or international wanted persons notices, are one of the ways in which INTERPOL informs its 186 member countries that an arrest warrant has been issued for an individual by a judicial authority. It is not an international arrest warrant.

The individuals concerned are wanted by national jurisdictions (or International Criminal Tribunals where appropriate) and INTERPOL’s role is to assist national police.

Many of INTERPOL’s member countries, however, consider a Red Notice a valid request for provisional arrest, especially if they are linked to the requesting country via a bilateral extradition treaty. In cases where arrests are made based on a Red Notice, these are made by national police officials in INTERPOL member countries.

The issuance or non-issuance of a Red Notice for any individual cannot be construed as an indication of the strength or weakness of the case against that individual, which is a matter for the appropriate judicial authorities to decide.