Defending theHuman Rightto a Fair Trial
December 2, 2016
Fair Trials welcomes recent reforms adopted by INTERPOL’, which we hope will improve access to redress for people subject to abusive international wanted alerts (Red Notices). The amendments will also improve the organisation’s transparency and further its constitutional commitments to political neutrality and respect for human rights. Fair Trials has campaigned reforms to INTERPOL’s internal redress mechanism since 2013, because of the impact that existing flaws have on the lives of refugees, journalists, human rights defenders and victims of torture who have too become subject to abusive Red Alerts. We are therefore delighted that many of our recommendations were reflected in the changes.
Adopted at INTERPOL’s 85th General Assembly in November 2016, these reforms include significant modifications to the rules of the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files (‘CCF’) and the ways in which it handles data access requests and complaints. The changes are detailed in the new ‘Statute of the CCF’ and in the new Rules on the Processing of Data (‘RPD’).
The Statute of the CCF includes some encouraging answers to the most serious criticisms made by Fair Trials and others who have raised concerns about INTERPOL’s failure to provide an effective redress mechanism. Below, Legal and Policy Officer Bruno Min highlights those of our recommendations that found an echo in the recent reforms:
The impact of Fair Trials work can also be seen in the finer details of the Statute. The new changes relating to the structure of the CCF, timeframes, disclosure of information, content of reasoned decisions, and oral hearings all tie closely to the recommendations provided by Fair Trials.
These are significant improvements, but there remains more work to do. It is still not possible to appeal against decisions made by the CCF either internally, or through an external judicial mechanism. Despite the positive changes to make the CCF’s procedures more efficient and transparent, there are still questions about how effectively these rules can be enforced.
We are therefore committed to working with INTERPOL to develop the further detail of the reforms and to address any areas of concern, including preventing non-compliant Red Notices from being published in the first place and developing interpretation of INTERPOL’s constitutional provisions regarding political neutrality and human rights protection. We also want to collaborate with other civil society actors and lawyers to monitor the implementation of these reforms and to inform INTERPOL’s work to ensure that its systems are more robustly protected from abuse.
If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.
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Fair Trials Europe is a registered public foundation in Belgium (No. 552688677).
Fair Trials Europe was founded by Fair Trials International
(a registered charity with limited liability in England and Wales, Nos 1134586 and 7135273),
together they form Fair Trials.