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20 February 2012 - Media release

Visit by French Minister of Justice underlines strong ties between INTERPOL and France

Senior INTERPOL official receives France's highest decoration from minister

LYON, France – France’s Minister of Justice, Michel Mercier, today met with INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble at the world police body’s General Secretariat headquarters, underlining the close relationship between INTERPOL and France which has hosted the organization since 1946.

The Minister discussed a range of law enforcement issues affecting national and international security with Secretary General Noble, in addition to being briefed on the world police organization’s activities across its 190 member countries.

During his visit to Lyon, where INTERPOL has been based since 1989, Minister Mercier also formally presented the Légion d’Honneur to INTERPOL General Counsel Joël Sollier of France in recognition of his career achievements and of INTERPOL’s initiatives in enhancing international police cooperation worldwide.

“I am delighted that we can today honour the brilliant career of Joël Sollier who, through his expertise, his experience and his professionalism, has played a very active role in improving the international legal framework for fighting organized crime and terrorism.  We are all aware of the importance of improving our legal instruments in this connection, since it is only by having tools that are properly adapted to the changing nature of crime that we can provide a truly effective criminal justice response”, said France’s Minister of Justice, Michel Mercier.

Accompanied by Nicolas Guillou, Conseiller diplomatique du Ministre (Diplomatic Adviser to the Minister), Jean Trotel, Premier président de la Cour d'appel de Lyon (President of the Lyon Court of Appeal), and Jacques Beaume, Procureur général près la Cour d’appel de Lyon (Principal Public Prosecutor at the Lyon Court of Appeal), Minister Mercier was updated on initiatives to support INTERPOL member countries combat transnational organized crime threats such as cybercrime, drug and human trafficking and terrorism.

“Judicial cooperation and police cooperation are two facets of the same reality and the same battle: rationally and coherently planning an effective response to crime, and developing the tools needed to guarantee the safety of our fellow citizens,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Noble.

“At INTERPOL, we are spearheading this battle by bringing together police expertise from different countries around the world, and also by means of partnerships with national and international institutions taking part in this action. ”

INTERPOL has developed numerous partnerships with international criminal courts, including the International Criminal Court, the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

“Minister Mercier’s visit to INTERPOL provides us with another opportunity to highlight how France is a leader among INTERPOL member countries in providing INTERPOL constant support in our initiatives worldwide,” concluded the INTERPOL Chief.

Key among these efforts is encouraging member countries to formally endorse the INTERPOL travel document initiative by granting visa waiver status to authorized personnel travelling on official business using the INTERPOL passport, thereby significantly speeding up any response to a request for assistance. To date 34 countries, including France, have formally recognized the INTERPOL travel document.