Bid to expel Russia from Interpol: pros and cons for the decision

The International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, is a crucial global organization in the struggle against terrorism and organized crime. But given that it has been formally identified as a state sponsor of terrorism, how does Russia fit into this picture?

Does Russia collaborate with Interpol in the battle against crime and terrorism, or does it pursue different goals? This article will examine the connection between Russia and Interpol and the obstacles they face in their cooperation.

Additionally, it will go into Russia’s participation in Interpol’s global operation and the advantages of joining the group. We will also draw attention to the drawbacks of including Russia in Interpol.

Poland and Ukraine promote a resolution to expel Russia from Interpol

According to Polish MEP Jadwiga Wisniewska (Law and Justice), the Russian aggression, the attack on Ukraine, in which Russia commits the crime of genocide, is sufficient cause to exclude Russia from Interpol, the Polish Radio reports

The MEP claims that Poland and Ukraine supported a motion at the Interpol General Assembly meeting that permits Russia to be excluded from the organizational frameworks of this global criminal police organization.

She requests that the Interpol Executive Committee draft and submit to the General Assembly the necessary amendments to the Interpol statute that would permit the suspension of membership in Interpol. 

The Polish MEP also requests that EU member states support this initiative to suspend Russia and other states that have consistently abused Interpol for political ends. Her report includes a separate section on Russia.

In connection with its aggressive campaign against Ukraine, Western nations demanded that Russia’s participation in Interpol be suspended in March. British Home Secretary Priti Patel said this. She claims that the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States support the immediate termination of Russia’s access to the organization’s systems.

Interpol refused to extradite Nevzorov to Russia

It was revealed in December 2022 that Interpol had rejected requests from Russia to extradite journalists Andrey Soldatov and Aleksandr Nevzorov, blogger Veronika Belotserkovska, and Oleg Kashintsev, a former police officer. This is mentioned in letters from the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Prosecutor General’s Office that were made public by Agentura.

In Russia, they are being prosecuted under the article on “fakes and discrediting the Russian army.” The documents note that there is no similar article in the criminal legislation of other countries. Interpol considers the prosecution politically motivated. Therefore, the organization prohibits the use of its channels for procedural actions.

Interpol heightened supervision of Russia’s requests

In March 2022, the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) decided not to exclude Russia from the group but to enhance the process for reviewing its requests. Interpol made this decision following calls to ban Russia from the organization due to its war against Ukraine.

“To prevent any potential misuse of INTERPOL’s channels to target individuals within or beyond the conflict in Ukraine, heightened supervision and monitoring measures concerning Russia have now been implemented by the Secretary-General, a decision which was endorsed by the Executive Committee,” the statement said.

“Effective immediately, diffusions can no longer be sent directly by NCB Moscow to member countries. NCB Moscow must now send all diffusions to the General Secretariat to be checked for compliance with INTERPOL’s Rules. If diffusion is found compliant, the General Secretariat will disseminate it to member countries. This procedure is in addition to the General Secretariat’s current process of reviewing all Notice requests for compliance”, it reads in the statement of March 11, almost three weeks after Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine.

The organization says that as of March 10, Russian authorities are no longer permitted to send “diffusions,” which are less formal requests for assistance, directly to their members. Russia needs to transmit the paperwork to the General secretariat so that it may be verified that it complies with Interpol rules.

Interpol’s membership modalities

The Constitution of the INTERPOL organization, which specifies that only sovereign countries may join, governs the organization’s membership. As a result, the group includes both Russia and Ukraine as members. Despite criticism from the international community, INTERPOL has refused to discontinue its affiliation with Russia, citing Article 3 of that country’s Constitution, which forbids INTERPOL from engaging in political activities.

On the other hand, Ukraine has been a part of INTERPOL since 1997 and is an essential player in its activities. Through the NCB, Ukraine actively engages in INTERPOL’s data exchange and other international police cooperation activities, ensuring its legal system is connected to the rest of the world.

Which nation does Interpol serve?

A nonprofit organization called INTERPOL collaborates with its 192 member nations to fight global crime. To support the three main crime programs of terrorism, cybercrime, and organized crime, INTERPOL offers a wide variety of policing skills and expertise.

It is a crucial instrument that law enforcement agencies worldwide can utilize to fight crime and get essential services. A global database gives law enforcement authorities a potent tool for thwarting and averting potential international crimes. It’s a beautiful illustration of how the world community can unite to keep people safe everywhere.

Abuse of international search instruments

According to Ukraine, Russia uses Interpol to politically retaliate against Ukrainian military personnel who took part in the war in Donbas. Ihor Mazur, a veteran of the anti-terrorist operation in Donbas, was detained in 2019 on the Ukrainian-Polish border, igniting a national debate in Ukraine on how to combat Russia’s hybrid war, which employs international tools like Interpol against Ukrainians.

One of Interpol’s most powerful instruments is adding people to the global wanted list. The so-called “notice” of the wanted individual can be used to add information to the wanted list in the Interpol information system. The card is categorized by color depending on the search’s goals.

For instance, a red mark on a card designates a sought person who is subject to extradition. The General Secretariat of Interpol examines the “card” before release to ensure its legitimacy and compliance with the organization’s standards. Interpol’s basic policy is that most “cards” are not required to be published. They are only visible to law enforcement officials in their system.

Another method exists for adding someone to the wanted list. This is the so-called “diffusion” procedure for wanted for extradition. This approach provides a more straightforward publication process. It is most frequently used for operational detention and does not need extensive verification by the General Secretariat of Interpol. The list of nations to which the circular should be distributed may be indicated explicitly by the country commencing the diffusion.

Who controls Interpol?

The International Criminal Police Organization, also known as Interpol, is a global organization that encourages police collaboration between national boundaries and fights transnational crime. It is the largest international police organization and consists of a vast network of police forces from 194 different nations. An Executive Committee composed of delegates from the member nations and the General Assembly, which both sit in Lyon, France, oversee the organization.

The General Assembly, which is Interpol’s highest governing body, is in charge of approving budgets, programs, and decisions on the organization’s operations. The selection of Interpol’s Secretary General is one of the daily management tasks assigned to the Executive Committee. The Secretary-General, Interpol’s highest-ranking official, is in charge of monitoring the organization’s activities and carrying out the decisions of the General Assembly and the Executive Committee.

Interpol’s principal objective is to support member nations in preventing and investigating international crimes. To do this, it maintains 19 databases with data on crime and criminal activity that are streamed live to law enforcement organizations all over the world.

As a member state, it also provides fugitives with forensic analysis and information about their whereabouts. According to Article 3 of Interpol’s Constitution, the organization is expressly prohibited from interfering in political, military, religious, or racial concerns under its guiding principle of neutrality. The organization’s success is built on its impartiality, which enables it to offer a platform for the globalization of law enforcement collaboration.

Interpol in Russia

An international law enforcement agency called Interpol aids nations in combating transnational crime. To assist the Russian police in solving complex cases, including locating fugitives and exchanging information and operational support, Interpol closely collaborates with the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Russia.

Additionally, Interpol assists in coordinating international investigations and ensuring that Russian law enforcement agencies have access to the most recent criminal intelligence and investigation methods. A permanent Russian National Central Bureau in Moscow, which is in charge of organizing global initiatives and granting access to Interpol’s databases, supports Interpol’s operations in Russia.

Will Russia be excluded from Interpol?

Due to Russia’s violation of Interpol’s rules and regulations, the country’s membership can be terminated. It will limit the ability of law enforcement agencies worldwide to cooperate with Russian law enforcement. In this case, it will not be possible anymore to exchange resources and information with Moscow for conducting investigations. And this should be taken into account.

As Russia has become a rogue state, the likelihood that it can arrest and extradite criminals wanted in other nations lowers. On the other hand, Russia has been recognized as a state sponsor of terrorism by the European Parliament, PACE, NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and several EU member states. 

In addition, the Russian government employs the Russian private military group Wagner, infamous for war crimes in Ukraine, Syria, and Africa. A group that can be recognized as a terrorist organization soon. So, the image of s taste supporting terrorists contrasts with the aim of Interpol, which is fighting terrorism. This speaks in favor of excluding Russia from Interpol, with no significant disadvantages.

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