INTERPOL has planned its 82nd General Assembly meeting for next month in Colombia.  To get right to the point, out of all the planned events for the meeting, I am most interested in reading about the presentation of the Annual Report by the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files (CCF). Traditionally, the CCF’s report has been presented to the General Assembly in conjunction with a speech by its chairperson.

This year, one of the primary topics of the report is likely to be whether the Rules on the Processing of Data (“RPD”) have been implemented completely in practice, and if so, to what effect?  A critical issue in the RPD, for both INTERPOL and for attorneys practicing before INTERPOL, is that of the accountability of National Central Bureaus (“NCB’s”) for INTERPOL’s member countries.  

When the RPD took effect in July of 2012, the new rules included multiple provisions that were clearly intended to shift responsibility for proper data processing to the NCB’s and away from INTERPOL itself.  One concern, which remains to be fully publicly addressed, was how the CCF and INTERPOL would identify misbehaving NCB’s, and how the available sanctions would be applied.

While it has only been a little over a year since the effective date of the new rules, sufficient time has passed for the CCF to have observed, directly or indirectly, improper actions taken by some member countries’ NCB’s.  It will be interesting to see whether the Commission addresses NCB malfeasance and sanctions in connection with the implementation of the new rules.  If so, the Commission will have taken another step towards the goals of transparency and accountability that INTERPOL sets for itself.  If not, we will be left to wonder whether the new rules matter very much.

As always, thoughts and comments are welcomed.