INTERPOL’s Power to Act Preemptively in Fighting Government Abuse

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Friday, May 3, 2019
Yuriy L. Nemets

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.