Fair Trials International report on INTERPOL – Comments of the Chairman of the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files (CCF), Billy Hawkes
The CCF – INTERPOL’s independent oversight body - welcomes the Report as a thoughtful contribution towards improving the protection of the rights of individuals who are sought through INTERPOL channels, notably through the Red Notice system.
INTERPOL’s legal framework – notably through Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution – already incorporates recognized international human rights standards. The CCF is supportive of a wide implementation of these standards in the context of INTERPOL’s and its own work.
We are very alive to the danger of INTERPOL being misused in order to pursue individuals for political or other inappropriate reasons and the serious consequences for the individuals concerned. We welcome the improvements brought about by the revised Rules on the Processing of Data (RPD), particularly the more stringent requirements for the issuance of Red Notices. We also welcome the enhanced scrutiny now applied by INTERPOL’s General Secretariat to all requests for Red Notices and will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the methods used to reject requests that do not comply with the Rules.
We support many of the recommendations made in the FTI Report. While the CCF’s conclusions on individual complaints are systematically implemented by INTERPOL, we are currently in discussions with the General Secretariat on making the CCF’s recommendations officially binding. We favour the maximum transparency towards individuals. We will therefore act on the Report’s recommendation that we improve the information we provide on our website so as to assist individuals to better understand our procedures. We welcome the recognition in the FTI Report that transparency in individual cases, which we support, has sometimes to be reconciled with the exigencies of international police cooperation.
Other recommendations in the Report require further reflection - for example, the proposal that the CCF should mirror the approach of an extradition court in its assessment of individual cases. This proposal needs to be viewed in the context of the nature of INTERPOL as an instrument of practical international police cooperation, the limited purpose of a Red Notice – to seek a person’s arrest with a view to extradition – and the fact that only a minority of cases submitted to the Commission raise political issues covered by Article 3 of INTERPOL’s Constitution
We commend Fair Trials International for this important contribution towards improving international human rights standards.