Estonia has complained to Interpol about what it sees as Russia’s use of the police agency to interfere in a vote in Tallinn. The complaint comes after Interpol published a “red notice” on Eerik Kross, an Estonian politician, describing him as a wanted man on Russian charges of “organisation of piracy.” The notice came out on the eve of mayoral elections in Tallinn last weekend, where Kross, long-disliked by Russia, was up against Edgar Savisaar, an Estonian-born Russian darling, who made his career by cheerleading the interests of ethnic Russians moved to Estonia in Soviet times…. Interpol, based in Lyon, France, is a unique intergovernmental body with no political or judicial oversight. Its EU equivalent, Europol, based in The Hague, is concerned that Interpol is open to political abuse. But it does not want to speak out for fear of harming police co-operation.
The mounting allegations against Interpol are damaging its reputation despite the official silence, however….
For his part, Ted Bromund, a researcher at an another US-based NGO, The Heritage Foundation, has calculated that, based on 2011 figures, if Interpol works eight hours a day for 365 days a year, it has just 20 minutes to consider the merits of each notice filed by its member states. He said Interpol director Ron Noble “is determined not to recognise that some Interpol member nations systemically seek to abuse it, and that more regular public monitoring of Interpol is necessary if it is to fulfill its functions without becoming complicit in these abuses.”
Russia’s request on Kross claims he masterminded the hijacking of a Russian ship, the Arctic Sea, in Swedish waters in 2009. But for Estonia’s interior ministry, the evidence against Kross, which was examined and rejected by a joint investigation team from several EU states, “does not provide an adequate basis for suspecting that Kross was involved.” Interpol is facing accusations that it also helped Belarus to intimidate dissidents who sought shelter in EU states. The Polish NGO, Open Dialog Foundation, has documented Kazakhstan’s use of the police body to hunt its political opponents in Europe….
And is there a broader story here about the unaccountability of supranational organizations?