Last November, at the annual meeting held under the direction of INTERPOL’s newest Secretary General, Jürgen Stock, the organization adopted new rules to be applied to its quasi-appellate body, the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files (“CCF”). This change marks the first time since 2012 that INTERPOL and the CCF have undergone such a substantive change in the rules.
The new rules are set forth in the “Statute of the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files,” the purpose of which is to define the work of the CCF. The changes in the CCF are both procedural and substantive. We’ll address the most significant differences in the next several posts, and today will begin with one of my favorites and something that almost no one ever asks for: more lawyers.
In the context of the CCF, more lawyers is good. Up until now, the CCF has been comprised of five members, who are required to include: one chairperson who has held a senior judicial or data protection post; two data protection experts having held senior positions in that field; an electronic data processing expert having held a senior position in that field; and an expert with international experience in international police co-operation. While some attorneys have held the positions, there has not been an absolute requirement that attorneys be appointed. Consequently, the Commission members’ experience in or interest in international human rights issues, criminal law fundamentals, and international judicial matters have not been required.
Now, however, the new Statute re-defines the makeup of the CCF. There will now be two chambers that comprise the CCF:
The Supervisory and Advisory Chamber, responsible for:
- ensuring compliance of personal data with INTERPOL’s rules, and
- assisting INTERPOL with advise on projects, rules, and oeprations regarding the processing of personal data.
The Requests Chamber, responsible for:
- examining and deciding on requests for access to and removal or correction of data.
The Requests Chamber is required to include five lawyers, one of each with expertise in data protection, international police cooperation, international criminal law, human rights issues, and one with judicial or prosecutorial experience.
While the CCF has already staffed very capable attorneys who work on the data requests, this is the first time that the members of the Commission will be required to be attorneys as well. This change is indicative of a higher commitment by Commission members to the examination and understanding of legal arguments and theories, and should make the work of the CCF’s staff attorneys less burdensome in terms of pre-session preparation of cases.
The inclusion of attorneys on the CCF will also assist in accomplishing one of the other new requirements of the CCF: to provide reasoned and published opinions. More on this topic next time.
As always, thoughts and comments are welcomed.