Role and functioning of the CCF
What is the role of the CCF?
- monitors the application of the Organization's data protection rules to personal data processed by INTERPOL,
- advises the Organization with regard to any operations or projects concerning the processing of personal information, and
- processes requests for access and deletion to INTERPOL's files and applications for revision.
What is the legal basis for the applicable rules on data protection of INTERPOL?
- INTERPOL’s Constitution (Articles 2, 3, 5);
- INTERPOL’s Rules on the Processing of Data (Title 1, Chapter II);
- Other guidelines such as the resolutions of the INTERPOL General Assembly.
What are the main principles in INTERPOL’s rules that are applicable to the CCF?
The main principles set out in INTERPOL’s rules are the following:
- Respect of fundamental human rights - Article 2 of INTERPOL’s Constitution
- Neutrality - Article 3 of INTERPOL’s Constitution
- National sovereignty - Primarily Article 59 of INTERPOL’s Rules on the Processing of Data
- Respect of data protection principles - primarily lawfulness and fairness, purpose, accuracy, access, proportionality, security, supervision and sanction, and non-discrimination.
What are the limits of the CCF’s mandate?
Neither the CCF nor INTERPOL should in any way:
- Be intended as a substitute for the judicial authorities charged with assessing the appropriateness of extradition. The CCF confines its assessment to whether or not the request for international police cooperation through INTERPOL channels complies with the Organization’s Rules;
- Provide an assessment or opinion on possible extradition procedures and outcomes;
- Determine whether, under the terms of a legal cooperation agreement between the two countries, a decision to discontinue proceedings should be taken;
- Provide assistance with visa applications, or issue certificates of good conduct.
In addition, the CCF will not process a request in the following cases:
- The request is essentially the same as another request previously examined by the CCF and does not contain any new facts that justify a revision, in accordance with Article 42 of the Statute of the CCF;
- The request does not fall within the scope of the CCF’s powers;
- The request is clearly unreasonable.
Who can be a member of the CCF?
The CCF comprises seven members appointed for a five-year term, renewable once for an additional term of three years. Members are appointed because of their expertise, and in such a way as to allow the CCF to carry out its mission completely independently. They are generally lawyers with experience and/or expertise in the following fields:
- International police matters, in particular international police cooperation;
- International criminal law;
- Human rights;
- Senior judicial or prosecutorial role, preferably in international judicial cooperation.
How does the Commission ensure the independence and impartiality of its members?
The Commission adopted new operating rules when its Statute entered into force in March 2017. These included specific rules aimed at reinforcing/guaranteeing the respect of the independence and impartiality of the Commission and its members, as required by Articles 4, 11 and 12 of its Statute.
Rules 1 and 2 of the CCF Operating Rules provide details on incompatible activities and withdrawal of members, in case of a real or perceived, direct or indirect conflict of interest with respect to the case concerned. In particular, the sole fact that a member of the Requests Chamber is a national of the country source of the data challenged by an applicant automatically results in the withdrawal of this member (Rule 2.1(d)). In order to further ensure/guarantee that the member concerned will not take part in any way in the case concerned, he shall not be present during discussions and deliberations of the case and shall not have access to documents concerning the case (Rule 2.2(b)). This information is regularly brought to the applicant’s attention when applicable.
As an additional measure, before taking up office, all CCF members must sign a solemn declaration stating that they will exercise their functions honourably, independently and impartially (Rule 3.1). To reinforce the binding character of these measures and provide additional guarantees of independence and impartiality, the Commission amended its Operating rules on 1 February 2019. In particular, it added to Rule 1 on “incompatible activities” the fact that CCF members shall take all necessary measures to ensure that they do not have, or are not seen by a reasonable observer as having, a conflict of interest (Rule 1.2) and that they shall not participate in INTERPOL’s official meetings and/or conference as delegates appointed by their countries (Rule 1.3).
General inquiries on requests
How much does it cost to request access to or challenge information in INTERPOL’s files?
The Commission does not collect any fee as part of its activities concerning the processing of requests to access or challenge information in INTERPOL’s files.
How confidential is my request?
Anyone may request access to the Organization's files without fear of his/her request being used for the purposes of international police and judicial cooperation. The Commission's files are confidential and requests are not recorded in the INTERPOL Information System.
The Commission may nevertheless need to communicate some information to the INTERPOL General Secretariat or the National Central Bureaus in order to obtain information which is necessary for the processing of a request. However, any item of information specifically identified by the applicant as confidential will not be communicated. This may be detrimental to the applicant, as it can restrict the Commission’s ability to fully process a request.
Will my request be recorded in INTERPOL’s files?
No. However, the existence of a request currently under study by the Commission may be indicated to that person’s files (where a person is subject to data in INTERPOL), but without any communication of its content.
Can I meet with the CCF?
The CCF does not generally meet applicants or their duly appointed agents or legal representatives other than in exceptional circumstances if, after examining the case, it considers this necessary.
Procedures followed by the CCF
When is a request to access or challenge information in INTERPOL’s files admissible?
A request for access or correction/deletion is admissible if:
- It is written in one of the Organization’s working languages (English, French, Spanish or Arabic);
- It comes from the person whom it concerns, or from that person's duly authorized representative;
- It includes an original letter, signed by the applicant, explaining the purpose of the request;
- Should the applicant be represented, the application contains an original and signed power of attorney;
- Should the request come from the legal representative of the person who is its subject, it shall be accompanied by a written declaration from the legal representative to that effect;
- The request is accompanied by a copy of an identity document belonging to the person who is the subject of the request, in order to prove his/her identity.
- In addition, requests for correction/deletion in INTERPOL’s files must be supported by a summary of the arguments in support of the request, along with the related documents in attachments.
How is my request analyzed once it is considered to be admissible?
Each request received is examined in detail by the CCF Secretariat, which determines its admissibility according to the procedure listed above. A detailed assessment of the request is then performed according to the Organization’s rules. This will often involve gathering more information from the applicant, the source of information, and open source research. A summary of the case is then submitted to the Commission during one of its sessions for discussion and a decision. For more information on this question, please consult the detailed Guidelines for applicants to the Commission.
Who may the CCF consult regarding requests?
In order to obtain further information needed to determine if information registered in INTERPOL’s files has been processed in compliance with INTERPOL’s rules, the CCF may consult the source of the information (generally an INTERPOL National Central Bureau), the applicant, and the INTERPOL General Secretariat. It can also conduct open source searches on its own initiative, as well as consult any other entity or expert in relation to the matter.
How is Article 3 of INTERPOL’s Constitution evaluated?
Article 3 of INTERPOL’s Constitution states: “It is strictly forbidden for the Organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.” Requests containing arguments based on Article 3 are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, by reviewing different elements including, but not limited to:
- the predominance of political, military, religious or racial elements of the case over the ordinary law character of the crime
- Resolutions adopted by INTERPOL’s General Assembly expressing INTERPOL’s interest in:
- cases involving terrorism and for membership of a terrorist organization
- cases concerning serious international crimes (genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes).
More information is available in the Repository of Practice on Article 3 of INTERPOL’s Constitution.
What information is examined to conduct a predominance test?
All relevant information is examined, including the following non-exhaustive list:
- The nature of the offence, namely the charges and the underlying facts
- The status of the persons concerned
- The identity of the source of the information
- The position expressed by a Member or authorized international entities other than the source of the information
- The obligations under international law
- The implications on the neutrality of the Organization
- The general context of the case.
What kind of communication should I expect from the CCF after I submit my request?
The general procedure regarding CCF communications with individuals filing requests systematically includes:
- An acknowledgement of receipt of the initial request;
- Information relating to the admissibility of the request and to the applicable procedure to the request;
- The results of the processing of the request.
Other CCF communications that may be sent, depending on the nature of the request, include:
- A request for further information, if necessary;
- A possible interim reply to inform the individual of the status of the request or regarding procedural changes;
- A notice that the case will be studied at the Commission’s next session;
How long does it take before the CCF gives its decision?
In accordance with its Statute, the CCF shall decide on a request for access within four months of the date when the request became admissible. Requests for correction and/or deletion shall be decided within nine months after becoming admissible. If the request concerns an application for correction or deletion, the INTERPOL General Secretariat has one month to comment on the conclusions of the CCF.
When its decision becomes final, the CCF notifies the applicant within one month. Applicants should therefore wait at least three months after the date of the session that examined the request before enquiring on the outcome of the request.
Does the CCF publish its decisions or communicate with the media?
The CCF produces an annual report, which is published on INTERPOL’s website. It is also free to make public statements.
The CCF does not publish decisions that contain personal information, nor does it systematically publish all of its decisions. It can publish excerpts of anonymized decisions which raise issues that could be of use to the general public, to understand the working methods of the Commission and to provide a better understanding of the assessment of INTERPOL’s rules made by the Commission. These decisions are available in the Sessions and reports page.
Is it possible to appeal a CCF decision?
Applications for revision of a request by the CCF may only be made by the applicant when it is based on the discovery of a fact which would probably have led to a different conclusion if that fact had been known at the time the request was processed.
In order to be considered, applications for revision shall be made within six months after the discovery of the fact which could have led the Commission to take a different decision, and include a brief statement of facts concerning the requested revision, including the newly discovered facts or developments that, if presented at the time of the study of the case, could have led the Commission to take a different decision (as per art. 42 of the CCF Statute). A Revision form is available in the How to submit a request page.
What about pre-emptive requests?
An individual may submit information to the Commission, which the Commission will forward to the INTERPOL General Secretariat for its information and appropriate action if a request for police cooperation is received at a later stage concerning the individual. More detailed information about the process is available in the section How to submit a request.