In May 2018, Spanish authorities detained Bill Browder, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It has been alleged that Spain acted on an active Russian request disseminated through INTERPOL’s channels. Prior to this arrest, INTERPOL had refused to cooperate with Russia, calling Mr. Browder’s case “predominantly political.” However, after several unsuccessful attempts to persuade the INTERPOL General Secretariat to approve a red notice, Russia reportedly put Mr. Browder on the international wanted list by disseminating an INTERPOL diffusion. Unlike notices, which are subject to the General Secretariat’s approval, governments can exchange diffusions directly, without prior approval from INTERPOL.
After Mr. Browder’s arrest in Spain, I called upon INTERPOL to inform the public whether it was monitoring all incoming red notices and diffusions to ensure that no such request enters its channels if the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files already found the individual to be a victim of INTERPOL abuse from the same government. I have argued that INTERPOL must conduct such monitoring, rather than deal with abusive red notices and diffusions after they are already published or disseminated through its channels. I have also suggested that INTERPOL should implement a reliable technology that would block incoming red notices and diffusions that match the Commission’s findings. Unfortunately, in its 2017 annual report (its most recent), the Commission confirms that INTERPOL does not have comprehensive monitoring in place, and that indeed some governments have succeeded in disseminating diffusions against the same individuals whom the Commission has already found to be victims of their red notice abuse.
In his recent publication in Forbes, Dr. Theodore Bromund argues that under INTERPOL’s rules (specifically, its Rules on the Processing of Data), INTERPOL does not have the power to screen incoming diffusions and block non-compliant ones before they are disseminated through the organization’s channels. I disagree. In fact, INTERPOL’s rules not only give the organization the power to screen all incoming diffusions, notices and other requests from governments and block them before they enter the organization’s channels, the rules actually require INTERPOL to do so to prevent abuse. The right of governments to send diffusions to each other directly, bypassing the INTERPOL General Secretariat, does not trump the latter’s power and obligation to monitor and block all incoming requests, including diffusions, to prevent governments from violating INTERPOL’s rules.
The General Assembly, the body of supreme authority at INTERPOL, instructs that the Rules on the Processing of Data (RPD) “must be effectively implemented.” RPD, which the General Assembly adopted, give the INTERPOL General Secretariat broad powers to ensure their effective implementation: “If a doubt arises regarding compliance with the conditions for data processing, the General Secretariat shall take all appropriate steps to prevent any direct or indirect prejudice the data may cause to the Organization, its staff, its Members, the National Central bureaus, the national entities, the international entities or the individuals that the data concern” (emphasis added). Therefore, to perform its obligation to ensure that governments and other users comply with the organization’s rules, the General Secretariat (1) does not have to possess strong evidence that a request for police cooperation is not compliant, since mere doubt suffices; (2) must use any means not contrary to INTERPOL’s rules to block a request from being communicated; and (3) must act preventively, that is, block a request before it is disseminated and before INTERPOL member countries learn about its existence.
A more comprehensive discussion will appear in the next issue of the IELR.
* Yuriy Nemets is the managing member at NEMETS, a law firm based in Washington, DC. Yuriy is an attorney with over fifteen years of experience in domestic and international litigation and arbitration, INTERPOL and international extradition defense, corporate, banking, transportation, international trade and investments, and intellectual property law. He has authored publications about INTERPOL and international extradition, corporate, banking, and intellectual property law.
 David Meyer, The U.S. Investor Behind the Magnitsky Act Was Arrested in Spain on a Russian Warrant, Fortune (May 30, 2018), http://fortune.com/2018/05/30/bill-browder-arrested-spain-interpol-russia-magnitsky-act.
 INTERPOL, INTERPOL Cannot be Used by the Russian Federation to Seek the Arrest of Mr. William Browder (July 26, 2013), https://www.interpol.int/News-and-Events/News/2013/INTERPOL-cannot-be-used-by-the-Russian-Federation-to-seek-the-arrest-of-Mr-William-Browder.
 Fair Trials, Why Does Bill Browder Keep Getting Arrested? (June 29, 2018), https://www.fairtrials.org/news/why-does-bill-browder-keep-getting-arrested.
 INTERPOL’s Rules on the Processing of Data art. 1(14), 2016, https://www.interpol.int/Who-we-are/Legal-framework/Legal-documents [hereinafter RPD].
 Activity Report of the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files for 2017 § 57, available at https://www.interpol.int/Who-we-are/Commission-for-the-Control-of-INTERPOL-s-Files-CCF/CCF-sessions-and-reports.
 Ted Bromund, INTERPOL CCF’s Latest Annual Report Highlights Fundamental Flaw in the System (Mar. 31, 2019), https://www.forbes.com/sites/tedbromund/2019/03/31/interpol-ccfs-latest-annual-report-highlights-fundamental-flaw-in-the-system/#20e6152b3a11.
 Constitution of the ICPO-INTERPOL, art. 6, June 13, 1956, https://www.interpol.int/Who-we-are/Legal-framework/Legal-documents [hereinafter Constitution].
 RPD, supra note 4, art. 17(1).
 Id. art. 129(1).