Today’s post is the final in our series on the most recent Annual Report of the  Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files (CCF). The focus of this post will be on the critical factor of admissibility.

Admissibility as the first step to the CCF’s examination of a case

Before an applicant’s request for access, correction, deletion, or revision is even considered by the CCF, the application must be admissible in accordance with INTERPOL’s rules.

If a request is deemed admissible, the CCF will begin determining whether the applicant’s data is being processed in INTERPOL’s information system to review the information. When a request is deemed inadmissible, the requests chamber will not act on the applicant’s request and will notify the applicant of the inadmissible nature of the request. 

Consequences of an inadmissibility finding

In 2021, 112 of 651 complaints were deemed inadmissible by the CCF, according to the annual report. This means that 112 requests for access, correction, or deletion were not considered because the applications did not meet the basic criteria for the CCF to review the matters.

Although the CCF is typically quite punctual in issuing its letters of admissibility within 30 days of receiving a request, an inadmissibility finding results in delays for the applicant. At a minimum, the failure to meet the admissibility requirements of an application will delay any action by a full month. For applicants in search of relief from invalid Red Notices, such a delay is problematic; it is also unecessary.

Requirements of admissibility of the CCF versus other international institutions

The admissibility requirements of the CCF differ from those of many other organizations that review the applications of individuals seeking relief from criminal court orders. For example, the CCF does not require the exhaustion of domestic court remedies or proof of damages resulting from the case as does the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The criteria for a case to be deemed admissible before the ECHR is more stringent, as that body acts in a judicial capacity.

INTERPOL is not a court and does not dispose of criminal cases; it acts as a depository and communication hub for data regarding individuals. As such, the CCF’s published admissibility criteria focus more on ascertaining the identity of the Applicant, clarity of the requested action, and submission to the appropriate body within INTERPOL.

Lack of prejudice for inadmissible requests

INTERPOL recognizes that it may receive requests for relief that have been drafted by lay persons or attorneys without experience in INTERPOL matters. When the CCF receives an inadmissible request, it generally responds with a letter advising as to the missing information, which allows the applicant to correct his/her error. The CCF recognizes that applicants generally have a right to access their information (which can be limited when the requesting country provides a legitimate reason to withhold all or part of that information), and appears to consistently provide that access once its conditions have been met.

As always, thoughts and comments are welcomed.