On November 29, 2019, the Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) met in Strasbourg to discuss, among other items, the INTERPOL reform and extradition proceedings. A delegation of ODF, represented by Lyudmyla Kozlovska and Ana Ursachi, Moldovan lawyer and human rights defender, arrived at Palais de l’Europe to support the debate.
The PACE debate on the report “Interpol reform and extradition proceedings: building trust by fighting abuse” drafted by the Rapporteur of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, Aleksander Pociej (Poland, EPP/CD) was followed by a vote on the draft resolution, including on a set of amendments proposed by ODF and tabled by PACE MPs.
Prior to the debate, we had already submitted written contributions to the rapporteur as one of the leading organisations advocating for the reform of the INTERPOL system, in particular of the Red Notice mechanism, which has routinely put in danger the lives of political refugees, asylum seekers and other individuals persecuted on political grounds by authoritarian states.
It is with great satisfaction that during a heated debate the members of the Standing Committee adopted the following amendments to the report, originally proposed by ODF:
5. It must also be noted that apart from extradition requests, interstate mutual legal co-operation mechanisms – such as the Schengen information system – are also subject to misuse and may result in violations of privacy, property, professional rights and deprivation of liberty, particularly under the 1990 Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime (ETS No. 141) as well as the 2000 United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
8. However, the Assembly also notes with regret that a number of recommendations (including the creation of a compensation fund for victims of abuses of Interpol mechanisms) have not yet been implemented, in particular those intended to improve the transparency of Interpol’s work and to strengthen accountability for States whose NCBs abuse Interpol’s instruments.
9. Regarding the improvement of extradition and other proceedings in the field of international criminal law co-operation in general, the Assembly calls on the member States of the Council of Europe and the member States of its Group of States against Corruption (GRECO, enlarged partial agreement) to participate actively in the Council of Europe’s co-operation activities in the criminal law field, in particular the PC-OC, with the aim of implementing good practices and avoiding problems identified by the PC-OC, in particular:
9.4. by refusing any extraditions and other interstate legal assistance, particularly in the field of criminal law co-operation by which the targeted person would be exposed to a serious risk of flagrant denial of justice, cruel and inhuman punishment or discriminatory treatment on political, racial, ethnic or religious grounds, as well as violation of privacy, property, professional rights and deprivation of liberty by searches, seizures, transmission of private, sensitive or confidential information to the requesting State, and arrest;
10.2.8. taking into account conclusions and recommendations provided by civil society watchdogs dealing with the matter of misuse of Interpol, extraditions and other forms of interstate legal assistance;
10.2.9. duly probing all instances of misuse of Interpol, extraditions and other forms of interstate legal assistance by the requesting States for political or corrupt purposes.
- ODF co-hosts side-event at the 19th Winter Meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Vienna (March 2, 2020)
- The Protection of Political Refugees and Illegal Extraditions: debate in Kyiv (December 12, 2019)
- “They’ve Come For You. Misuse of Extradition Procedures, Unlawful Expulsions and Kidnappings of Victims of Politically Motivated Prosecution” (February 25, 2019)
- ODF’s Interpol Research as Leading Source for the European Parliament’s Human Rights Subcommittee (DROI) (February 21, 2019)
- Ending Abuse of INTERPOL’s Red Notices: How to Implement the Recommendations of PACE Legal Committe (April 30, 2017)