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28 March 2006 - Media release

INTERPOL statement concerning arrest warrant for Agim Ceku

LYON, France – In light of a series of erroneous reports in the media and public statements by certain Serbian officials, INTERPOL wishes to clarify the facts and reiterate its position on the matter of the Serbian arrest warrant for Agim Ceku, now Prime Minister of Kosovo. INTERPOL’s position on this matter was also communicated in a formal message to Serbia sent on 23 March 2006.

Mr Ceku was never the subject of an INTERPOL international wanted persons notice, otherwise known as a Red Notice. In fact, Mr Ceku was the subject of a ‘diffusion’ notice sent to INTERPOL by Serbian authorities on 4 June 2002 via INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau in Belgrade. That diffusion requested his arrest with a view to extradition based on an arrest warrant issued on 18 March 2002 by a Serbian court on genocide charges. That diffusion was duly registered in INTERPOL’s database of wanted persons.

On 10 March 2006, Mr Ceku was appointed Prime Minister of Kosovo. In line with international jurisprudence that international arrest warrants against persons enjoying immunity under international law – such as Foreign Affairs Ministers and Heads of State and Heads of Government – should not be issued, INTERPOL’s policy is not to process such information, or if already processed and registered, not to maintain it in its active databases in such circumstances.

Accordingly, based on the above and the status of the civilian government of Kosovo under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999), the General Secretariat decided to suspend all information concerning Mr Ceku currently registered in INTERPOL’s databases during the time he continues to serve as the Prime Minister of Kosovo. All INTERPOL National Central Bureaus in its 184 member countries have been informed of this decision.

Contrary to media reports and public statements by certain officials in Serbia, INTERPOL did not ‘abolish’ the Serbian arrest warrant, since INTERPOL cannot and does not attempt to abolish arrest warrants issued by national courts. Nonetheless, INTERPOL is required by its rules not to circulate and register information or otherwise co-operate with national authorities when the requested co-operation is not compatible with the organization’s rules.

Complete information about INTERPOL’s international notices system and the rules for processing police information can be found on the organization’s website – www.INTERPOL.int.

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