United Nations requests INTERPOL support in investigation

30 June 2005

LYON, France – The United Nations has called on INTERPOL for assistance with the investigation into the murder of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.

Officers from the General Secretariat in Lyon will work with the UN International Independent Investigation Commission in Beirut which was established following the bombing on 14 February, 2005.

In order to offer its full support to the UN investigation, INTERPOL has also contacted all of its member countries to identify additional experts and resources which may be called on to assist the investigation if required.

The INTERPOL officers will have access to I-24/7, INTERPOL’s global police communications service, enabling them to maintain 24 hour contact with the Command and Co-ordination Centre in Lyon. The team based in Beirut will also have access to INTERPOL’s full range of databases including fingerprints, DNA, suspected terrorists and stolen travel documents.

'We are delighted to be able offer our full assistance to the United Nations investigation,' said Secretary General Ronald K. Noble. 'Having the INTERPOL specialist officers on the ground in Beirut will mean that the UN investigation will benefit from additional expertise on the scene, as well as access to specialists in every field from around the world.

'INTERPOL has established many productive links with the UN during recent years, and their request for our involvement in this investigation marks a new, and I believe positive, chapter in our partnership.'

Detlev Mehlis, head of the UN commission established to investigate the fatal bombing, welcomed INTERPOL’s involvement; 'We are pleased that INTERPOL has responded positively to our request for assistance in this investigation.'

'Much work has already been done by the UN investigating team, and the added support of INTERPOL underlines our ongoing commitment to establishing the facts surrounding the death of Mr Hariri,' said Commissioner Mehlis.

In addition to the officers in Beirut, specialists at the INTERPOL General Secretariat in Lyon will also be supporting the investigation, including experts from the Criminal Analysis Unit who will examine INTERPOL’s databases to establish any links between the blast and other incidents around the world.

INTERPOL has already signed eight agreements with the UN and UN-related entities and in November 2004 appointed the first INTERPOL Special Representative to the UN in New York to help enhance co-operation and communication between the organizations.

INTERPOL is the world's largest international police organization with member countries, which each maintain an INTERPOL National Central Bureau, staffed by members of the national police. At INTERPOL's General Secretariat in Lyon, France, police from more than 65 countries work side by side in any of the organization's four official languages, Arabic, English, French and Spanish.