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Interpol expands activities: fight terrorism

Interpol expands range of activities to include fight against terrorism

The existence of international terrorist networks has made it necessary to improve the ability of international law enforcement authorities to conduct cross-border investigations. At the 74th Interpol General Assembly held in Berlin from September 19th to 22nd decisions were taken that will greatly facilitate international efforts to fight organized crime and terrorism.


Increasing the effectiveness of police investigations against terrorists presupposes an optimum interplay between communications and information systems. With this in mind, the INTERPOL General Assembly approved a decision to expand its area of investigative responsibility to include terrorists who have been placed on a wanted list by the UN Security Council.

A new special international notice introduced by INTERPOL will enable member countries to find out immediately whether or not a given person has been classified as a terrorist by the UN Security Council. If so, the necessary police measures can be taken immediately.

In a statement made during the concluding session on September 22, German Interior Minister Otto Schily welcomed the fact that "the United Nations and INTERPOL have reaffirmed their intention to cooperate more closely in the future."

Database for missing persons and unidentified bodies

Schily thanked INTERPOL for adopting a German proposal to create a database for missing persons and unidentified bodies, saying that a database of this kind will be in the interest of affected families, giving them certainty as to the fate of missing loved ones more rapidly than in the past. The German Federal Office of Criminal Investigation will assume primary responsibility for setting up the database and feed large amounts of its own information into the new system.

Central register for stolen travel documents

A resolution on "enhanced access to the INTERPOL stolen travel document database for border control purposes" was adopted with a view to helping to enforce travel bans imposed by the UN Security Council on terrorists and persons associated with them. Future use of the database will no longer be restricted to INTERPOL national central bureaus. Border police in member countries will be able to access the database for the purpose of checking travel documents. There are currently more than 1.2 million German entries in the database and more are added daily.

In addition to the adoption of resolutions there were also personnel matters on the agenda. Roland K. Noble, an American, was unanimously appointed to a second five-year term as Interpol Secretary General. Jürgen Stock, Vice President of the German Federal Office of Criminal Investigation, was elected to the organization's Executive Committee.

INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization) was created in 1923. It is the world's oldest international security organization as well as the largest association of national law enforcement authorities. Its general secretariat is in Lyon, France. Under the latter's supervision a total of 182 national central bureaus cooperate by sharing information as well as by providing each other support in investigation, extradition, and other mutual assistance matters. At this year's Interpol General Assembly more than six hundred high-ranking police officials and security experts from the 182 member countries discussed ways and means of improving international strategies for fighting crime.

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