LYON, France - On 10 March 2010, officials from Argentina and Iran met for the first time since 2007 at INTERPOL headquarters as part of the international police agency's continued efforts to advance discussions about judicial proceedings relating to the 1994 bombing of the Israeli-Argentine Mutual Association (AMIA) centre in Buenos Aires in which 85 people were killed and hundreds more injured.
While there was no apparent substantive progress made during the meeting, INTERPOL remains committed to the process in bringing about a resolution between its two member countries regarding the pending charges.
Since inaccurate and inflammatory references originating from Argentinean media attributed to INTERPOL officials, including its Secretary General, have been publicly reported, INTERPOL is releasing the following statement on the current situation.
"INTERPOL's strength is based on mutual respect for each of our 188 member countries and on the objectivity we maintain on all issues - including sensitive disputes between them. In that spirit, we will continue to encourage a dialogue in this case, and we believe we now are approaching a mutually acceptable next step by which INTERPOL can assist in breaking the co-operation logjam that has persisted," INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said.
INTERPOL's belief is that by continuing to engage both Iran and Argentina in a variety of contexts, progress can be made. For example, during the 10 March 2010 meeting, a practical suggestion was discussed that would designate INTERPOL as the conduit by which information would be exchanged between both countries. At the conclusion of that meeting, even that suggestion seemed unacceptable. Frequently, countries prefer to use diplomatic channels.
However, after further discussions, INTERPOL is now confident that it has identified an acceptable process for it to become that conduit for the exchange of case-related information on a mutually reciprocal basis to the satisfaction of both Argentina and Iran.
By way of background, Secretary General Noble explained, "In November 2007, INTERPOL’s supreme governing body, its General Assembly, approved the publication of Red Notices for six individuals sought for arrest by Argentina in connection with the AMIA bombing. The General Assembly’s decision did not remove the presumption of innocence that each and every person charged with a crime should have.
"It is up to each individual member country to follow its own national laws in deciding whether and how to comply with the request by another country to arrest the individuals in question. Many member countries give INTERPOL Red Notices the legal basis to allow for the provisional arrest or detention of an individual. Some INTERPOL member countries do not allow their own nationals to be extradited to another country for any reason, but if presented with evidence sufficient to bring charges and convict a person, they may prosecute nationals within their own judicial systems," Mr Noble stated.
As to suggestions of inflammatory comments by INTERPOL or by any party, Secretary General Noble stressed, "Obviously each party to this or any other discussion should be the only source for comments attributed to it. I urge anyone who wants to know INTERPOL’s position on this very sensitive issue to be guided only by official statements issued by INTERPOL."
“Now is the time to begin utilizing INTERPOL'S tools in exchanging information so as to pursue resolution of this matter, and in this regard INTERPOL remains ready, willing and able to assist in any manner that is agreeable to both Argentina and Iran,” concluded Secretary General Noble.