LYON, France - INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble will meet separately with officials from Iran and Argentina in an effort to facilitate a direct dialogue between those nations regarding the 1994 terrorist bombing of the Israeli-Argentine Mutual Association (AMIA) centre in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and injured hundreds. Secretary General Noble has been encouraged by both Iran and the Argentinean prosecutor to engage in shuttle diplomacy in an effort to help both parties co-operate in this matter.
The Secretary General will travel to Tehran, Iran this week and then meet with an Argentinean delegation at INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France following INTERPOL’s upcoming General Assembly.
On 7 November 2007, INTERPOL’s supreme governing body, its General Assembly, approved the publishing of Red Notices (also known as international wanted persons’ notices) requested by the Argentinean National Central Bureau (NCB) for six individuals sought for arrest by Argentina in connection with the AMIA bombing. One of those six individuals is Iran’s recently appointed Defense Minister, Mr Ahmad Vahidi. The timing of Secretary General Noble’s efforts to bridge the divide between Iran and Argentina with regard to co-operation on the AMIA investigation has thus taken on greater significance.
“Both Iran and Argentina are valued members of INTERPOL and share a wide range of common concerns in our global efforts to combat terrorism and other serious international crimes,” said Secretary General Noble.
“Our General Assembly has already decided that Argentina’s request for INTERPOL to seek the arrest of the six wanted individuals is in compliance with our Constitution. That decision does not, however, remove the presumption of innocence that each and every person charged with a crime should have – no matter the offence. INTERPOL’s goal is therefore to help break the deadlock in co-operation that exists and to find a way both for evidence to be obtained and for the AMIA terrorist bombing investigation and prosecution to move forward,” added Mr Noble.
No INTERPOL member country is required to arrest the subject of a Red Notice. However, many member countries give INTERPOL Red Notices the legal basis to allow 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 may prosecute within their own judicial systems.
The Secretary General has regularly initiated a transparent brand of shuttle diplomacy when disputes between members affect INTERPOL’s mission of enhancing international police co-operation. Most recently, his visits to both India and Pakistan after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India were followed by greater reliance by both countries on INTERPOL Red Notices and services in pursuing those responsible.
Cases involving challenges to or disputes around the issuance of Red Notices are the rare exception, not the rule. Last year, 3,126 Red Notices were issued without controversy.
“INTERPOL’s strength is that when differences occur between our member countries, we are determined to find a resolution while maintaining impartiality and keeping our focus on enhancing international co-operation by police and law enforcement authorities,” Secretary General Noble concluded.