Pressure has been building on Interpol ahead of a vote to choose a new chief for the international police agency,…
Pressure has been building on Interpol ahead of a vote to choose a new chief for the international police agency, with U.S.
British media have reported that 56-year-old Major General Aleksandr Prokopchuk will most likely be elected despite allegations that Moscow has used Interpol’s
Police chiefs gathering in the Gulf city of Dubai were scheduled to vote on a new chief at their meeting on November 21.
The agency, headquartered in the French city of Lyon, acts as a clearinghouse for national police services that want to hunt down suspected outside their borders.
Critics of the agency have warned that it is increasingly being used by some nations to pursue politically motivated prosecutions by using so-called “red notices.”
Two days ahead of the scheduled vote, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry vowed to push for suspending his country’s membership if Prokopchuk is elected.
“Russia’s possible presidency at Interpol is absurd and contradicts the spirit and goals of that organization,” Arsen Avakov said in a statement November 1
Avakov’s comments come in the midst of high tensions between Moscow and Kyiv on Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and its backing for separatists in a war in eastern Ukraine.
The question of Russia potentially assuming oversight of the agency drew condemnation from a bipartisan group of US senators, including Republicans Marco Rubio and Roger Wicker, and Democrats Jeanne Shaheen and Chris Coons.
“Interpol Electing … Prokopchuk as its new president is akin to putting a fox in charge of a henhouse,” the group said in a letter. “Russia routinely abuses Interpol for the purpose of settling scores and harassing political opponents, dissidents and journalists.”
It also drew condemnation from Russian anti-corruption activist Aleksei Navalny, who has faced a series of detention and criminal charges, which he and his supporters have called politically motivated. He said his associates had “suffered abuse” from Interpol officials who were complying with Russian warrants to persecution Kremlin opponents.
“I do not think that a president from Russia will help to reduce such violations,” he said in a posting to Twitter.
Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian opposition activist, said in a statement article in The Washington Post that Russia was likely to misuse the “red notice” system if Prokopchuk were to take over the agency.
” Det kan hende at Kremlin kan gøre med adgang til følsomme databaser rundt om i verden, ” he wrote.
The November 21 vote will replace Meng Hongwei, who was China’s Deputy Minister of Public Security and who went missing while on a trip to China in September.
Beijing later said that he was detained as part of
Interpol’s General Assembly will also consider membership from several countries, including Kosovo.
Accepting Kosovo as a full member would allow Pristina, among other things, to execute Kosovo as a full member. to distribute red notices for Serbian officials that Kosovo is considered to be war criminals.
Two years ago, Interpol introduced new measures aimed at strengthening the legal framework around the red notice system after facing criticism that governments have abused the system to go after political enemies and dissidents.
As a part of the changes, an international team of lawyers and experts would first check a notice’s compliance w Interpol rules and regulations before it is issued.