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27 November 2013 - Media release

INTERPOL rules and systems respect the rights of individuals and all 190 member countries

INTERPOL’s ‘central role’ in combating international crime recognized by Fair Trials International

LYON, France – As the world’s largest police organization, INTERPOL’s vision of ‘connecting police for a safer world’ is more relevant than ever in its almost 100-year history.

Providing support to each of its 190 member countries equally and without prejudice is central to INTERPOL’s existence in line with its Constitution, which mandates the widest police cooperation between all police authorities within the ‘spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’.

INTERPOL engages with a wide range of organizations and welcomes constructive contributions in supporting its mission and in this regard recognizes the report published today by Fair Trials International. 

INTERPOL has effective, well-established systems in place to identify and address potentially politically motivated requests, and measures to protect the rights of individuals. If a request is found to be in violation of INTERPOL’s Constitution and rules, it is deleted from INTERPOL’s systems and all member countries are required to do the same at the national level.

Under Article 3 of INTERPOL’s Constitution it is strictly forbidden for the Organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character. This is a prohibition which INTERPOL takes extremely seriously.

Indeed, the overwhelming majority of requests by member countries raise none of these issues, despite a handful of cases receiving particular attention, cases which are very much the exception, not the rule. However, INTERPOL must and does remain vigilant to potential misuse of its network and continually reviews and refines its procedures and controls.

INTERPOL is not a judicial body. It is not, nor should it be the responsibility of INTERPOL or the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files (CCF) to assess evidence at the national level. It is the responsibility of INTERPOL and the CCF to ensure that information processed through INTERPOL’s channels are in accordance with the Organization’s rules and regulations: a responsibility which is undertaken every day.

Any implication that ‘high profile’ cases receive special treatment by INTERPOL is wrong. Any individual can challenge the information recorded about them in INTERPOL’s databases. No special authority is required, they can simply contact the CCF directly. An individual can also challenge the validity of the underlying national arrest warrant.

Informed awareness of international law enforcement issues is important, and is an area where INTERPOL is keen to play its part, particularly in encouraging its member countries to further invest in and provide additional support to their National Central Bureaus which are the key actors in global police cooperation.

INTERPOL enables countries to share information about people both under investigation or sought for arrest but does not legally bind any member country to take any action. INTERPOL  cannot insist that any member country arrest an individual, nor does it issue international arrest warrants.

The report follows a meeting at the world police body’s General Secretariat headquarters in September, where Fair Trials International recognized INTERPOL’s ‘central role’ in combating international crime, and both organizations agreed on specific areas for further engagement.