- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 13, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In a March 27 Op-Ed column (“Human rights emergency,” Web, Opinion, March 27), Kenneth Timmerman makes a number of assertions that misconstrue the facts and the role of Interpol.

Interpol does not issue what Mr. Timmerman wrongly describes as “international arrest warrants,” forcing countries to detain or arrest anyone. The United States and the 187 other Interpol member countries never relinquish their sovereign right to decide whether a person should be arrested.

Interpol also has safeguards in place, including a review of Red Notice applications to ensure they comply with ourrules and the process is not used for political, racial, religious or militarypurposes. Any person maychallenge beingnamed ina Red Notice of being in violation of Interpol prohibitions. They may also challenge the court that issued the underlying arrest warrant.

Two of Interpol’s greatest strengths are notifying law enforcement worldwide that a person is wanted internationally and/or in possession of a stolen passport, partly by issuing the very Red Notices Mr. Timmerman complains about.

Is it acceptable for countries not to be alerted that wanted terrorists, murderers, rapists, child predators, organized crime figures or other fugitives are attempting to enter their country? This is what the Interpol Red Notice does.

In 1993, before the United States and Iraq cooperated, Ramzi Yousef entered America using a stolen Iraqi passport. Yousef is now serving a long prison sentence following his conviction for masterminding the first World Trade Center bombing.

Interpolbelieves the best approach is for all countries, especially those without diplomatic ties, to be made aware of criminal charges brought against individuals, for countries to exercisetheir sovereign right to decide what, if any, action to then take, and for anyone wishing to challenge the issuance of Red Notices to use the established procedures rather than rely on commentary articles.

RACHAEL BILLINGTON

Chief press officer

Interpol

Lyons, France

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