A reader recently sent in the following question:

I am a red notice subject. I made a request to CCF and received a reply confirmation that the request is admissible. This was more than 2 years ago and I haven’t received anymore replies.

Should I write back another request to CCF or should I just keep waiting?

I have read that a repetitive numbers of request submitted by the requesting subject can make the commission not process the request.

This reader’s question points out a glaring flaw in the CCF’s procedures: the absence of mandated timely responses or updates.  INTERPOL’s rules as applicable to the CCF only require that the CCF respond to applicants’ requests “at the earliest opportunity.” Such a vague requirement becomes problematic when individuals like the reader, above, wait for years to receive responses.  Even if the CCF has valid reasons for such long delays, faith in the organization’s validity and capability is greatly diminished when no updates are either provided or required.  The CCF has made strides in the last year to improve the speed of its response, and appears to have made some progress in that area, which is welcome. However, as the reader and others have experienced, many older cases are still lanquishing and remain unanswered by the CCF.

For the price of a stamp (or better yet, free of charge: an e-mail), the CCF could send a letter that would both a) assure the inquiring party that the Commission has addressed the case appropriately and that work is stalled for a valid reason, and b) strengthen the Commission’s reputation for upholding its mission as an active, responsible, and responsive guardian of individual human rights.  This is such a small price to pay to guard one’s reputation, and yet the CCF consistently refuses to do so.

Perhaps the most disheartening portion of the reader’s question is his/her reticence in making requests for updates to the CCF because of a concern that the CCF may become frustrated to the point of not processing the request.  This reminds me of an experience of a friend of mine years ago during trial.  She was required to object continually because the prosecution was continually attempting to violate her client’s right to a fair trial.  The judge finally said, “Counsel, I am tired of your objections!”  She responded, “And I’m tired of making them!”

Likewise, it is tiring to have to repeatedly request updates from the CCF, and even more so when no response is forthcoming.  No individual should be afraid of seeking a response that is required to be made from the CCF, nor should the individual be forced to seek updates.  The CCF should proactively manage its caseload and inform the parties as to the status of their cases in a timely fashion.  I can think of nowhere that two years is considered to be timely, and in fact, a two year delay in most circumstances would result in negative consequences:

  • If a lawyer refused to respond to her clients for two years, her practice would shut down.
  • If law enforcement officers refused to provide their supervisors with an update on a criminal investigation for two years, the officers would be fired or re-assigned.
  • If a judge refused to address a case for two years without stating a good reason, the matter would be addressed by a higher court.
  • If a prison failed to transport a convicted person from jail to prison for two years without stating a good reason, the convicted person would be released.

And in fact, none of these circumstances arise with any regularity, because it is simply not allowed.  The CCF, on the other hand, is allowed by INTERPOL’s rules to maintain cases without providing updates or timely responses, and so it does just that with some frequency.

So, the answer to the reader’s question unfortunately appears to be that an update may not be forthcoming without a request for an update, and repetitive requests for updates would not be necessary if updates were provided proactively.

As always, thoughts and comments are welcomed.