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Human rights vs. crime prevention

Human rights vs. crime prevention

Lawyers nowadays more and more often face situations when their clients’ human rights have been drastically violated by illegal use of instruments and mechanisms of international and regional police organisations, be it at a national or even international level. 

One of the most important instruments for cross-border police cooperation and international wanted persons alerts, which enable police in Interpol member countries to exchange relevant information on criminal activities or accused persons, are notices such as a “Red Notice” (colloquially also called an international arrest warrant). A Red Notice contains information on the identity of the wanted person and information on the crime for which the person is wanted. Red Notices are published by Interpol at the request of a member state in accordance with the relevant regulations. However, this powerful Interpol tool could also be used by law enforcement agencies in some countries to put additional pressure on individuals. Especially when the local regime is characterised by corruption and political unrest, there is often a risk that Interpol systems will be abused.

Interpol Red Notices are issued for fugitives wanted either for prosecution or to serve a sentence. A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action. Unfortunately, it happens more and more often that some government officials, politicians and even businessmen try to use this valuable tool, which is vital for human security, in order to put pressure on their opponents and/or gain advantages in commercial or political disputes. Since this powerful tool and mechanism of location and arrest is sometimes used illegally, persons already harmed by these tools or expecting to be a target of similar violation should know how to protect their rights from an illegal publication of a Red Notice which may damage their political career, reputation, business and /or commercial interests. 

It is therefore essential that affected persons who have already been harmed by these measures, or who expect to be the target of similar measures, know how to protect themselves against the illegal publication of a Red Notice. If a person believes that the instruments used or intended to be used by Interpol have violated or would violate his or her rights and freedom, the existing protection mechanisms should be invoked. In particular persons who have already been harmed should promptly report the violation of their rights to the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files (CCF-Commission). 

The CCF operates within a legal structure defined by its Statute, its Operating Rules, Interpol’s rules and applicable international legal standards. The Commission is structured in two chambers and is supported by the Secretariat for the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s files. Its powers are defined by the Statute of the Commission. 

THE SUPERVISORY AND ADVISORY CHAMBER 

In its supervisory capacity, this Chamber carries out the necessary checks to ensure that the processing of personal data by the Organisation complies with Interpol’s rules. In its advisory capacity, this Chamber provides the Organisation with advice on any of its projects, operations or sets of rules, either on its own initiative or at the request of the General Secretariat. 

THE REQUESTS CHAMBER 

This Chamber examines and decides on requests for access to data as well as requests for correction and/or deletion of data processed in the Interpol Information System. It also examines applications for revision. 

The Commission is independent and has three functions, as defined in Interpol’s Constitution: a supervisory role, an advisory role, and a processing role—in which it handles individual’s requests for access to, correction of or deletion of data in the Interpol Information System. 

The requests to the Commission are specific and should be addressed in accordance with all rules and regulations of the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s files and Interpol. 

Lansky, Ganzger + partner cooperates with independent experts who specialise in the protection of human rights at the international level. They have a lot of experience in protection of reputation, interests and rights of their clients against the illegal use of international police organisations’ tools. The experts work closely together with the lawyers and have not only helped to restore clients’ reputations and clear their names but also have helped to avoid ruining business or political reputation by acting on time. 

Conclusion: Using the appropriate legal protection mechanism is the only way to protect a client’s rights and to secure their business and political reputation. 

Authors:

ELENA ARSENEVA, PhD, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France, international expert in criminal law and protection of human rights.
ALINA CEBOTARI, Attorney-at-Law, specialized in international criminal law and protection of human rights.

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