In a global framework, no organization is able to act efficiently alone. Cooperation is needed with other relevant institutions that are capable of providing additional assistance or knowledge.
For this purpose, INTERPOL has established strong relationships with a wide variety of international organizations – intergovernmental and non-governmental – acting in different fields of interest of the Organization.
While INTERPOL's cooperation with other international organizations has been expanding rapidly especially during the last decade, a need for joint efforts was recognized early on in the Organization's history. One of the oldest agreements, with the Council of Europe, dates back to the 1960s.
Since then agreements have been established with many organizations such as:
- United Nations and several of its specialized agencies;
- European Union;
- Commonwealth of Independent States;
- International Criminal Court;
- African Union;
- Organization of American States;
- Arab Interior Ministers' Council.
In order to provide a clear legal basis for working together, INTERPOL has concluded a number of cooperation agreements with these day-to-day partners.
Each agreement is specific for the scope of cooperation established, and contains provisions relative to the practical work of the organizations concerned. They can include such provisions as conditions for the exchange of information, reciprocal representation within the other organization or means of technical assistance.
In practice, the cooperation can take the form or information exchange, mutual investigative projects or by direct or indirect access to the each others databases.
The establishment of a cooperation agreement is done through mutual negotiations and the drafting of an agreement that can be satisfactory to both parties. The final version is then signed by the competent representatives, often by the Secretary General of INTERPOL and his equivalent in the other organization.
The agreements are, however, living documents and they can be modified or replaced by a new agreement if a need for additional forms of cooperation arises and both parties agree on the needed modification.
In conformity with Article 41 of the Organization's Constitution, agreements concerning relations with other international organizations may be concluded by INTERPOL.
Such agreements must be approved by the General Assembly. Once approved, the President of the Organization (or the Secretary General by delegation) is authorized to sign them.
However, in accordance with Article 22 of the Organization's Constitution, the General Assembly at its 67th session (Cairo, 1998) and 69th session (Rhodes, 2000) decided to delegate to the Executive Committee the power to approve cooperation agreements with other international organizations. The General Assembly considered it necessary to simplify the procedure and speed up the process of negotiating cooperation agreements.
Yet, some agreements do not need to be approved by the General Assembly or the Executive Committee. For instance, Agreements concluded with United Nations subsidiary bodies are not subject to the formal procedure established by Article 41 of the Constitution.
With effect from 3 January 2001, INTERPOL is a party to the 1986 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties between States and International Organizations or between International Organizations (see Instrument of accession). Agreements concluded by the Organization respect the essential conditions of this Convention.
Model police cooperation agreement
The development of a model police cooperation agreement is a concept which has gained ground within INTERPOL. Indeed, it seems natural that the Organization should provide its member countries with the legal tools they need to facilitate cooperation they initiate bilaterally.
A model agreement has therefore been compiled on the basis of numerous studies, which reflects a wealth of experience in international police cooperation.
In adopting this instrument, in particular for those member states which have not yet developed this form of cooperation to a large extent, the Organization is fulfilling its role as set out in the Constitution, namely "to ensure and promote the widest possible mutual assistance between all criminal police authorities, and to establish and develop all institutions likely to contribute effectively to the prevention and suppression of ordinary law crimes".
List of police cooperation agreements mentioning INTERPOL
- Agreement between Benin, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo on criminal police co-operation (Lagos, 1984)
- Agreement between Spain and Sweden on police co-operation in combating terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime (11th May 1989)
- Agreement between France and Sweden on police co-operation in combating terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime (15th December 1989)
- Convention on applying the Schengen Agreement of 14th June 1985 between the Governments of the Benelux Economic Union, the Federal Republic of Germany and the French Republic on the gradual abolition of checks at their common borders (Title III, Police and security) (19th June 1990)
- Agreement between Bulgaria and Germany on co-operation in combating organized crime and drug trafficking (14th September 1992)
- Agreement between the Ministers of the Interior of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Tadjikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Estonia on co-operation in controling illegal trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances (1992)
- Memorandum between the Belgian Gendarmerie and the National Police of Hungary (27th May 1994)
- Exchange of Letters between France and Belgium relating to cross-border police co-operation (16th March 1995)
- Memorandum of Understanding on co-operation in police matters, justice and immigration between the Ministers of Justice of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, the Ministers of the Interior of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg (4th June 1996)
- Agreement between the Minister of Justice and the Minister of the Interior of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Justice of the Kingdom of Belgium on cross-border police co-operation between Belgium and Luxembourg (4th June 1996)
- Joint Declaration by the Belgian Gendarmerie and the Hungarian National Police (5th July 1996)
- Agreement between the Government of the Kingdom of Sweden and the Government of the Republic of Hungary on co-operation in combating organized crime, illegal trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, terrorism and other forms of serious crime (23rd April 1997)
- SARPCCO multilateral co-operation agreement and mutual assistance in the field of crime combating (Harare, 30th October 1997)
- Agreement between the Swiss Federal Council and the French Government on cross-border co-operation in judicial, police and customs matters (11th May 1998)
- Police co-operation agreement between France and South Africa (26th June 1998)
- Co-operation agreement between the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Government of Romania and the Government of the Republic of Turkey on combating terrorism, organized crime, illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, money laundering, trafficking in arms and human beings and other major crimes (16th April 1998)
- Agreement on co-operation in criminal police matters between the Central African States (29th April 1999)
- Draft police co-operation convention between the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium and the Governments of Central European and Eastern European countries (2nd July 1997).
- Draft Agreement on co-operation in criminal police matters between countries of the sub-region of West Africa (1998)
- Draft police co-operation convention between the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium and the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria (1998)
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