Le Figaro: Interpol’s ‘Red notices’ staring down the barrel of non-governmental organisations
© mukhtarablyazov.org 15.01.2014

Two organisations point to the use of international arrest warrants, issued in recent years, particularly for political dissidents.

“Abuse of the Interpol notices not only have a devastating impact on people, for whom they are issued, but also harm the effectiveness of Interpol as such”, warned Jago Russell, the director of Fair Trials International. In a report published in November, this English non-governmental organisation which fights globally for the right to a fair trial, is concerned over the use of Interpol‘s ‘red notices’ for political purposes. In 2008, the United Nations Agency for Refugees was disturbed by the political use of arrest warrants. Within four years, the number of international arrest warrants, issued by the international police organisation based in Lyon, increased by 160%. Their number increased from 3126 in 2008 to 8132 in 2012.

A ‘red notice’ is considered by Interpol as “one of the most powerful tools of hunting international fugitives”. The document, distributed in 190 Interpol member states, allows detainment of fugitives on the basis of any control carried out in order to execute extradition. In accordance with Article 3 of the Statute, it is strictly forbidden for the Organisation to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character”. Additionally, Interpol’s intervention must be based on the “spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, which is stipulated in detail in Article 2 of the organisation.

"A tool of political persecution"

In other words, according to Fair Trials International, the regulation regarding the activities of Interpol is not particularly respected. This NGO believes that authoritarian regimes, such as Belarus, Iran, Turkey or even Russia, too often resort to ‘red notices’. For these states, the Interpol system has become a powerful tool for detention, intimidation and execution of the extradition of members of the political opposition, human right defenders and journalists. The organisation cites Petr Silaev’s case as an example, a 28 -year-old Russian activist, endangered by a ‘red notice’, issued last year by Interpol at the request of Moscow. He was imprisoned for nine days for ‘hooliganism’, then detained in Spain for six months, eventually, the Spanish judicial system refused his extradition on the grounds that the arrest warrant was issued under a political pretext.

"Fair Trials has its own opinion on the subject. Clearly they are an Anglo-Saxon structure that does not know Interpol too well", Jean Frayssinet, a member of the Commission for the Control of Interpol's Files (CCF) speaking to the Lyon Capitale magazine. In its announcement, Interpol reminds us that "it must, however, remain vigilant in what it does, due to the risk of abuse of its network".

The Open Dialog Foundation, a non-governmental organisation based in Warsaw, highlighted similar irregularities in its report, published in September. From the report, one can learn that Kazakhstan, one of the states which most often asks Interpol to issue ‘red notices’, valid throughout the world, uses the organisation in order to bring about the extradition of the associates of the dissident Mukhtar Ablyazov. The NGO calls for reform of the system of red notices and, at the same time, wants to create an independent body outside the Commission for the Control of Interpol's Files - an internal legal authority which plays only the role of a consultant.

On 26 November, MEPs addressed a letter to the European Commission, requesting "the establishment of an expert group in order to thoroughly analyse the abuse of Interpol for political purposes". The Commission has undertaken a commitment to verify the instruments so that the organisation mechanisms are enhanced.

Source: Le Figaro