By Ana Quiroga
The International Criminal Police Organisation, more commonly known as “INTERPOL”, is an intergovernmental organisation with 194 member countries. The organisation helps the police of these countries to work together by managing police databases with information on crimes and criminals that are accessible to countries in real time.
The National Central Bureau, national or international entity that intends to register data on a person subject to international police co-operation must, under Article 44 of INTERPOL’s rules, specify whether the person is a convicted person, suspect, witness, missing person, or the situation in which he or she finds himself or herself. This information may be disclosed to the public only if the exceptional conditions set out in the second point of Article 61 of the said Rules are met.
Under Article 73 et seq. of the Rules of Procedure, INTERPOL’s notice system consists of different types of notices issued for specific purposes and classified according to a colour-coded system. A type of notice can only be created after approval by the General Assembly, which has first obtained the opinion of the Commission for the Control of Files if the notice includes personal data. Notifications are issued by the General Secretariat and are addressed to all National Central Bureaus.
Red notices, which are the ones we are concerned with here, are governed by Articles 82 et seq. of the above-mentioned INTERPOL Rules. They are issued at the request of a National Central Bureau or an international organization with the power to request the location of a wanted person and his or her arrest or restriction of movement with a view to extradition, surrender or other similar measures. For these notifications there are certain requirements such as, for example, that the wanted person, if already convicted, has been sentenced to at least six months’ imprisonment; that, if not yet tried, the person is facing a criminal offence punishable by at least two years’ imprisonment. The minimum identification data set out in the regulation are surname, first name, sex, date of birth, and some element of identification such as a physical description, a DNA profile, fingerprints or data contained in identity documents.
Once a person who is the subject of a Red Notice is located, the following steps should be taken: the country where the person has been located should immediately inform the National Central Bureau or requesting international entity and the General Secretariat that the person has been located and take any measures permitted by its national law and the international treaties applicable to the case, such as preventive detention of the person. The requesting National Central Bureau or international entity shall ensure that the information and supporting documents requested by the country where the person has been located or by the General Secretariat are sent promptly. The latter shall assist National Central Bureaus or relevant international entities, in particular by facilitating the forwarding of documents relating to the provisional arrest or extradition procedure.
The Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files (CFF) is an independent and impartial body responsible for ensuring that the processing of personal data complies with the applicable INTERPOL rules. It exercises its functions within a legal structure defined by its Constitution, its Operating Rules, INTERPOL’s standard-setting texts and the applicable international legal standards.
The most important principles of INTERPOL’s normative texts that apply to the CFF are respect for fundamental human rights; neutrality; national sovereignty; respect for data protection, in particular fairness, impartiality, purpose limitation, accuracy, proportionality, security, supervision and sanction, non-discrimination.
The CFF examines and decides on requests for access, revision, rectification and deletion of data processed in the INTERPOL Information System.
Requests received by the Commission are confidential and are therefore not recorded in the INTERPOL Information System. However, the Commission may need to communicate certain information to the INTERPOL General Secretariat or National Central Bureaus in order to obtain the information necessary to process the request, but even so, no information specifically designated as confidential by the requesting party will be communicated.
The applicant must submit an application on a prescribed form. The Commission analyses and processes requests solely on the basis of the allegations and documentation contained in the request. A request for access to INTERPOL’s files or a challenge to this information is admissible if it is written in one of the Organization’s working languages, i.e. Arabic, English, French, Spanish or French; if it is submitted by the person concerned or by his or her duly authorized representative; if it is communicated in an original letter signed by the requesting party explaining the reasons for the request; and if it is submitted by the person concerned or by his or her duly authorized representative; it is communicated through an original letter signed by the applicant explaining its purpose; it is accompanied by a power of attorney if represented; it is accompanied by a written statement to that effect by a legal representative; it is accompanied by a photocopy of the identity card of the person who is the subject of the request. In addition, if it is a request for rectification or erasure of data, a summary of the arguments in support of the request must be provided. There are no hearings or hearings, except in exceptional cases. The request in question should be sent to the address of the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files, which is located in Lyon, France. Once the request has been deemed admissible, the Secretariat of the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files carries out a detailed evaluation of the request in accordance with the Organization’s rules and regulations. During this process, further clarification may be required from the requesting party. All relevant information will be examined, such as the type of offence, the charges and the facts of the case; the status of the persons concerned; the identity of the source of the information; the position expressed by a Member or authorised international entity other than the source of the information; the obligations of international law; the implications for the neutrality of the Organization; the context of the case.
Once the request is submitted, the CFF provides an acknowledgement of receipt; or information on the admissibility of the request and the applicable procedures; or a possible interim response; or a request for additional information; among others. From the date of the application, the approximate time limit for the Commission to take a decision which is communicated in writing to the applicant is four months.
There is no appeal against the CFF’s decision. However, the applicant may ask the Commission to reconsider an application if this new request is based on the discovery of a fact that would probably have led to a different conclusion. The time limit for this is six months from the discovery of the fact and a precise and brief description must be provided, in particular of the new elements.
At Chabaneix Criminal Lawyers we work on extradition proceedings and, subsequently, requests to the CFF in order to prevent the person in question from being re-arrested in another country due to the existence of this red notice. It is not enough to prevent the extradition of a person to the country that requires him/her, but to prevent that person from having to go through this event every time he/she is in a different country.
CHABANEIX CRIMINAL LAWYERS
Our experience and numerous successful cases are our guarantee in this sector. We will be happy to help you and fight for you to achieve the best result in court. You can rely on our years of experience to find the most beneficial solution for you when faced with an extradition problem.