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NEWS

Council of Europe calls for more action against the abuse of INTERPOL

admin - January 15, 2020 - INTERPOL

 

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution in November 2019 addressing the abuse of INTERPOL’s Red Notices and Diffusions, calling on the EU to establish a series of best practices on the use of INTERPOL’s mechanisms, which are designed to facilitate cross-border criminal justice cooperation. Fair Trials is pleased that PACE has recognised the need for more action to tackle the misuse of ‘wanted person’ alerts to target political opponents, refugees, and others in need of international protection, especially given that some of the most high-profile abusers of INTERPOL are members of the Council of Europe.

In the resolution, PACE recognised INTERPOL’s progress, which it has achieved by implementing several reforms, but expressed its disappointment that the international policing organisation ignored several of its concerns regarding the lack of transparency and accountability. PACE also called on the member states of the Council of Europe to use INTERPOL’s ‘wanted person’ alerts more responsibly.

As INTERPOL is an important tool for tackling cross-border crime, PACE recommended the organisation to further improve its transparency by disclosing data that would help to assess how effective its review mechanisms are. Among PACE’s recommendations are also the improvement of its systems for scrutinising and preventing repetitive requests; better control of the information that flows through its communication system and ends up on national databases; and a strengthened appeals procedure that would make recourse speedier, more interactive and transparent.

Regarding the conduct of member states, PACE recommended providing support to INTERPOL by dedicating funding to the Notices and Diffusions Task Force and the CCF (the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files). Given the human rights implications of cross-border cooperation, countries should also provide information to INTERPOL to assist with the review process and fully respect decisions to delete Red Notices. In addition, countries should use their influence to support further reforms and be receptive to criticisms made by civil society regarding the misuse of INTERPOL’s systems.

Fair Trials has been campaigning for INTERPOL reforms since 2012, and we are delighted to see PACE echoing our concerns and providing similar proposals. However, we would like to point out some inaccuracies in PACE’s resolution. The full text of INTERPOL’s refugee policy has not been published by the organisation, as the document states, and the resolution claims that Diffusions are vetted before being made visible, which is not completely known for a fact.

Fair Trials welcomes the idea of establishing a collection of best practices and is committed to working together with the EU and the Council of Europe to develop it.

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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