This is the second in a series of posts by guest author Lisa Ould Aklouche*
Following the previous post about China’s violation of its obligations to INTERPOL regarding due process rights and INTERPOL’s lackluster response to those violations, the question of what INTERPOL can do about it bears consideration.
First, INTERPOL could exercise pressure on those member countries to commit to their due process rights of individuals obligations by changing its approach to Red Notice approval.
Beforehand, we must reiterate that every Red Notice request is required to be checked by a specialized task force to ensure its compliance with INTERPOL’s rules. This review takes into account information available at the time of publication. Whenever new and relevant information is brought to the attention of the General Secretariat after a Red Notice has been issued, INTERPOL advises that the task force re-examines the case.
According to Article 86 of INTERPOL’s Rules on the Processing of Data :
“The General Secretariat shall conduct a legal review of all Red Notices prior to their publication to ensure compliance with Interpol’s Constitution and Rules, in particular with Articles 2 and 3 of Interpol’s Constitution.”
As a reminder, Article 2 states that INTERPOL shall conduct its aim in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Therefore, the first action conducted by INTERPOL, through the General Secretariat, could be to pay special attention to this legal review and filter Red Notices issued from countries that have been violating due process rights of individuals.
Additionally, the General Secretariat could treat those Red Notices with greater suspicion and ask for more details and guarantee regarding the human rights conditions under which the defendant would be treated if the Red Notice was published. One way to do this would be to suspend any form of cooperation and systematically refuse to publish Red Notices issued from countries that refuse to commit with their individual human rights commitments.
INTERPOL could also sanction countries that do not commit to the organizations’s rules. More precisely, the General Secretariat can take correction action against a National Central Bureau that does not fulfill its obligations, under the provision of Article 131 of INTERPOL’s rules on the processing of data. Those correctives measures are the supervision of the processing operations carried out by the Nationals Central Bureau on international entity; the suspension of their access rights; as well as the conduct of an assessment team.
Moreover, the General Secretariat may also send to the National Central Bureaus its recommendations related to the implementation of the rules with a view to helping them; suspend their processing rights, after the submission to the Executive Committee; and conduct as many reminders as necessary about their role and responsibilities connected with the data they process in the Interpol information system.
The corrective measures available under INTERPOL’s rules are rather limited, which leaves few prerogatives to the General Secretariat to sanction the violation of the organization’s rules. However, they do exist and they can and should be enforced.
As always, comments and questions are welcomed.
** Ms. Ould-Aklouche holds a master’s degree in French law. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.