Ukrainian Bar Association urges Interpol to exclude the Russian Federation from the organization
Since February 24, 2022, the full-scale aggression of the Russian Federation with the support of the Republic of Belarus has been ongoing. Russian troops continue to commit crimes against civilians, against peace and humanity on a daily basis.
These crimes include abductions, torture and murder of politicians and civil servants, business leaders, journalists, lawyers, and civil society activists. The work on collecting information on active citizens was carried out even before the full-scale invasion, and after the aggression began, Russian soldiers began to carry out purges in the occupied areas.
It is obvious that the Russian Federation is conducting systematic work to find and neutralize proactive and patriotic citizens of Ukraine. Unfortunately, Russia implements its criminal policy not only by its special services and armed forces, but also with the involvement of international organizations.
On the night of October 28, 2022, Ukrainian journalist of Crimean Tatar origin Gulsum Khalilova was detained by Turkish law enforcement agencies at the request of Russian special services through the Interpol wanted list. This is not the first case of detention of Ukrainian citizens at the request of the Russian Federation.
The Russian Federation is abusing its rights as a member of Interpol, using the organization to persecute and intimidate opponents of the current terrorist regime.
The absolute majority of the requests from the Russian Federation are politically motivated: the search for Ukrainian journalists, politicians and civil society activists, as well as representatives of Russian national minorities (e.g., Chechens), and are nothing more than a violation of the principle of political neutrality of Interpol.
Although Ukraine appealed to Interpol on February 28, 2022, to revoke Russia's membership in Interpol, which was supported by Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States, no such decision was made.
Relying on Article 2 of the Interpol Constitution, which establishes the principle of the widest possible mutual cooperation, and wishing to remain neutral, Interpol did not expel Russia from the organization. Instead, Interpol has established a requirement that requests be sent to the General Secretariat for verification.
As we can see, such actions were insufficient, and Russia continues to use Interpol in politically motivated persecution.
Ignoring this fact would be a violation of Article 3 of the Interpol Constitution, which prohibits any politically motivated actions.
We believe that adherence to the principle of prohibition of politically motivated actions takes precedence over the desire to maintain mutual cooperation. Especially given that such cooperation does not contribute to the achievement of the objectives of Interpol and contradicts the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which also does not allow for the reference to Article 2 of the Interpol Constitution.
Taking into account the above, the Ukrainian Bar Association urges Interpol to:
- exclude the Russian Federation from the organization;
- terminate the access of the Russian Federation to any databases, as well as any exchange of information with the Russian Federation;
- delete all requests and notifications sent by the Russian Federation earlier;
- not to accept new requests and communications from the Russian Federation;
- notify Interpol member states of the measures taken to prevent abuse of bilateral information exchange by the Russian Federation.