On 10th March 2022, INTERPOL announced that heightened supervision and monitoring measures in relation to Russia had been implemented by the Secretary General and endorsed by INTERPOL’s Executive Committee.
The measures, which have taken immediate effect, and were implemented following calls from Ukraine, the UK, and others for Russia’s complete suspension from INTERPOL (covered by P&P here), mean that Russia can longer send diffusions, which are requests for information or action directly from one NCB to another, or to the entire INTERPOL network, without prior review for compliance with INTERPOL’s rules by the General Secretariat. This change aligns the rules for diffusions with those for Red Notices, which already require approval before publication. The Russian Federation has a track record of issuing diffusions instead of Red Notices in politically motivated prosecutions.
In its announcement, INTERPOL made reference to the potential misuse of its channels in relation to the targeting of individuals within or beyond the conflict in Ukraine. The Secretary General also highlighted that additional measures may be taken on an urgent basis by the Secretary General if the need arises and reiterated that a decision to act on a request via INTERPOL is exclusively at the discretion of competent national authorities.
However, whilst INTERPOL has implemented supervisory measures, it has not gone as far as to suspend or exclude Russia from the network, nor has it indicated that it will do so, citing conflicts in regard to the views of different law enforcement agencies, increased crime during conflicts, the value of the INTERPOL network, and the importance of INTERPOL’s mission to prevent crime and assist vulnerable individuals.