By Yuriy Nemets*
Ability to Challenge INTERPOL Red Notices
It is well known that the redress mechanism that INTERPOL has established for individuals to challenge government use of its channels is far from meeting modern democratic due process standards. Among the rights without which it is difficult to imagine a modern democratic society but that are lacking within the INTERPOL framework are the right to a hearing, the right to examine evidence produced by a government and the right to appeal. Several years ago, INTERPOL carried out reforms aimed at making its redress mechanism more independent, transparent and better staffed for adjudicating complaints from individuals alleging violations of their rights through unlawful use of the Organization’s resources. The reforms have addressed only some of the most pressing issues, however. The redress mechanism still lacks a number of crucial elements, including the rights mentioned above, which to this day allows governments to use INTERPOL as a tool in politically motivated and otherwise corrupt prosecutions.
The INTERPOL redress mechanism is represented first and foremost by the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files (CCF), an independent body with exclusive jurisdiction to adjudicate complaints from individuals. With the obvious lack of urgency on the part of the INTERPOL General Assembly to address the ongoing abuse and close the loopholes that contribute to it, CCF seems to be stepping in. I have already written about a case in which CCF responded to the government’s abuse of its absolute right to deny an individual access to INTERPOL’s files by ordering the information deleted until the government agreed to provide access to the information or justified its refusal to do so. Fortunately, it appears that CCF’s quest for balance does not end there.
As mentioned above, INTERPOL’s rules do not guarantee individuals the right to appeal if CCF denies their complaints. The CCF Statute allows for revision of its decisions but “only when [the request for revision is] based on the discovery of facts which could have led the [CCF] Requests Chamber to a different conclusion if that fact had been known at the time at which the [complaint] was being processed.” A request for revision must be made “within six months after the discovery of [such] fact.” It is, therefore, up to CCF only to decide whether or not its decision to deny an individual’s complaint warrants its review, and CCF’s powers in this regard as described in its Statute are broad.
2018 Annual Report Indicates Broadening of Redress Mechanism
However, in its most recent (2018) annual report, CCF seems to indicate that it interprets the provisions regarding requests for revision broadly — “[a]lthough [in considering applications for revision,] the Commission is especially careful to ensure that the procedures in place do not jeopardize the binding character of its decisions, it may also consider revision under certain circumstances: for instance, when it appears necessary to correct a possible violation of a rule or procedure, or a mistake in the conclusions due to some missing information or a miscarriage of justice.” CCF, therefore, seems to interpret the provisions to mean that they apply not only when new and previously unavailable evidence is discovered, the concept that we usually use in the context of a motion for a new trial, but also when CCF makes a material error in its procedure or in interpretation of law or fact, the latter typical of an appeal. Although this broad interpretation of INTERPOL’s rules does not introduce appeal as of right, as the decision whether or not to review its previous conclusions remains CCF’s solely, it is a very serious step that suggests CCF’s recognition of the importance of that right which is still lacking and long overdue in the INTERPOL redress mechanism.
* Managing Member of Nemets, Wash., D.C. https://nyllaw.com. Yuriy is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law (Chicago), from which he received his Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Laws (LLM) degrees, and Moscow State Law Academy (Russia), from which he received his first law degree and his Ph.D. in law.
 Yuriy Nemets, The Absolute Right of Governments to Deny Individuals Access to INTERPOL’s Files and the Need for Due Process: CCF Seeks Balance, Red Notice Abuse Report (Dec. 19, 2019), https://rednoticeabuse.com/the-absolute-right-of-governments-to-deny-individuals-access-to-interpols-files-and-the-need-for-due-process-ccf-seeks-balance/
 Statute of the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files, art. 42(1), available at https://www.interpol.int/Who-we-are/Legal-framework/Legal-documents
 Id. art. 42(2).
 Activity Report of the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files for 2018 § 47, available at https://www.interpol.int/Who-we-are/Commission-for-the-Control-of-INTERPOL-s-Files-CCF/About-the-CCF