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  • Red Notice Monitor

Reforming Interpol's Commission for the Control of Files

Picture via Unsplash by Ali Shah Lakhani

Interpol's Commission for the Control of Files (CCF) is facing significant challenges due to delays in processing requests for deletion or removal of data. According to Interpol's rules and constitution, it should take approximately four months to confirm the presence of data on an individual and nine months to decide if the data should be maintained or removed. However, the reality is a backlog so severe that cases now take well over a year for proper consideration.


The CCF has made improvements under the new administration introduced in March 2022, with decisions becoming more detailed and better reasoned. Nevertheless, the meticulousness required for each case adds to the delay. The CCF consists of only seven part-time members, assisted by around ten lawyers who prepare cases for review. This setup is similar to that of the European Court of Human Rights, where lawyers in the registry summarize key issues and facts for the judges.


With a significant backlog of cases pending, the need for additional resources is clear. The part-time nature of the CCF members role makes it difficult. The members are highly skilled in their legal careers outside of Interpol, but the lack of sufficient funding and investment in the CCF contribute to the delays. Increasing the number of CCF members and allowing greater delegation of powers, or even appointing some members to work full-time, could significantly help. Currently, the CCF convenes at least three times a year, dedicating three or four days each session to complex applications that require substantial time and consideration.


Simple cases, such as bounced checks or family law issues like non-payment of child maintenance, are usually resolved quickly. However, more complex political cases, where extradition is disguised as legal action, often involve frequent abusers of the system such as Russia, China, Turkey, and the UAE. These countries sometimes collaborate to target individuals abroad. Those cases are not always obviously corrupt and only through careful preparation of the case and provision of evidence are lawyers able to show the problems.


The CCF also struggles with the interim suspension of Red Notices, particularly in urgent cases where individuals are detained at borders or airports. Although improvements in communication and decision-making have been noted recently, the lack of resources prevents the CCF from operating within reasonable timeframes. It is hoped that the election of a new General Secretary may prompt Interpol to seek better funding and resources for the CCF to manage and reduce the backlog.


For Interpol to maintain its credibility, a well-resourced CCF is essential. The members of Interpol must recognise the importance of supporting this body to ensure it can uphold justice and the rule of law.


For those facing issues with Red Notices, exploring options for Red Notice removal could provide necessary relief.


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