INTERPOL and ICC meeting focuses on cooperation

September 14, 2012

INTERPOL on September 13, 2012 released the following:

“THE HAGUE, Netherlands – A meeting between INTERPOL President Khoo Boon Hui and International Criminal Court President Sang-Hyun Song and recently-appointed Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda provided an opportunity to review cooperation between the Office of the Prosecutor and INTERPOL, and to assess further collaboration in specialized investigative support, training and experts networking.

The INTERPOL and ICC presidents in their meeting on 7 September recognized the significant cooperation between the two organisations, with the ICC President acknowledging the importance of INTERPOL’s role in capacity-building investigations into genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, as well as the operational support provided by INTERPOL for ICC initiatives.

Also attending the meeting were the ICC’s Michel de Smedt, Head of Investigations Division, Helen Walker, International Cooperation Advisor and Stefano Carvelli, Assistant Director of INTERPOL’s Fugitive Investigation Support unit.”


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Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

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Battle to extradite Rwanda fugitives rages on

October 3, 2011

The East African on October 2, 2011 released the following:


Rwanda is coming under renewed global pressure to craft new strategies to arrest wanted genocide suspects from their hide outs ahead of next year’s UN court deadline.

Seventeen years after the 1994 genocide, at least 65 of the key masterminds remain at large despite efforts to track down genocide fugitives.

Concern is mounting ahead of the 2012 deadline when the mandate of the Arusha based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) — the UN court set up to deal with the atrocities — expires.

Nine of the most wanted genocide masterminds remain at large, with a bounty of $5 million each on their head under the US Rewards for Justice Programme since 2004.

Despite the incentive, some of the most wanted suspects remain untouched; notable among them is Felicien Kabuga, an alleged financier of the Rwanda genocide who has been rumoured to be hiding in Kenya.

Only 32 fugitives have been arrested by Interpol out of the over 97 red notices (arrest warrants) issued.

“It’s a huge problem.

They also have access to resources that allow them to hide from capture. But just to remind you; it took 10 years to track down Osama bin Laden,” said Ronald Noble, the Secretary General of Interpol, adding there was a need for a new strategy to fast track the arrest of the fugitives who have become “more elusive.”

“The fugitives usually move under false names and travel documents to evade arrest with 10 genocide suspects so far arrested with false documents,” he said. However, the Interpol chief observed that with increasing regional and cross-border cooperation among countries, progress has been made towards limiting the movements of the fugitives, citing recent arrests of genocide fugitives in Uganda and DRC.

However, Rwanda is on the verge of achieving a major breakthrough as several European countries holding fugitives have finally looked into the possibility of extraditing the suspects to face trial in Rwanda.

Among countries Rwanda has been involved in a long-standing debate with requests to have suspects extradited home are France, Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands and Denmark.

The argument has been that Rwanda does not have competent courts to accord extradited individuals a fair trial, a claim Rwanda dismisses.

“We have always been ready. Our position is clear, we are ready to take on these cases,” Rwanda’s Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga said.

Several requests, including some to the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), have been turned down in the past on the same grounds. However, earlier this year, some countries including Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden and the ICTR itself, began to give in, agreeing to the argument that Rwanda has made some major reforms in the judiciary and can try some of these cases.

Norway has said it would extradite Charles Bandora, a genocide suspect who roamed several African countries before ending up in the Scandinavian country, but he appealed the decision in the European Human Rights Court (EHRC), which is yet to decide.

The Netherlands on the other hand has appreciated several reforms in the justice sector, some of which it finances, but it is yet to extradite any of the several suspects in Dutch jails. It will all depend on the EHRC.

The same is the case with Sylvere Ahorugeze in Sweden.

But then, just as Rwanda braces itself for the first ever extraditions from a European country, human rights watchdogs including Human Right Watch (HRW), Amnesty International and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) are opposing the development. The groups have argued before the Strasbourg-based European court that Rwanda does not yet have a judiciary that is independent enough to accord the fugitives a fair trial.

“In theory, Rwanda is reforming its judiciary, but in practice those measures are still insufficient,” Carina Tertsakian from Human Rights Watch told the International Justice Tribune.

Ms Tertsakian, whose work permit was cancelled in April last year by Rwanda immigration authorities, and the representatives of Amnesty International and CHRI argue that the trials of the suspects risk being “politicised,” once transferred to Rwanda.

Mr Ngoga, however, dismissed the allegations, instead accusing the rights group of attempting to derail a process that was reaching a “promising stage.”

Mr Ngoga insists that organisation such as HRW, which has had a number of run-ins with the Rwandan government and Amnesty International, are determined to frustrate efforts to ensure justice takes its course.

“These organisations are always ready and opportunely present to oppose every initiative that would bring back to Rwanda genocide fugitives,” Mr Ngoga said.”

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at or at one of the offices listed above.

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September 29, 2011

The Independent on September 28, 2011 released the following:


Cybercrime and child trafficking amongst dominant threats at EAPCCO summit

There was no shortage of security threats to discuss during the 13th Eastern African Police Chief’s Cooperation Organisation (EAPCCO) General Assembly that was held in Kigali from September 11 to 16. The forum, which was established as an effective way of improving international police cooperation in combating transnational crimes amongst 11 countries in the region—Rwanda, Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Uganda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, and Tanzania —was also attended by the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).

The region has seen its share of security challenges over the years, including the presence of insurgent groups such as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Forces for the Defense and Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). Although the meeting touched on other areas of concern such as the apprehension of genocide suspects and cross border trafficking of small arms, there were other threats that rightfully garnered considerable attention as well.

Cybercrime was at the top of the list. As broadband networks continue to expand throughout the region there is growing concern that without adequate security, hackers will be able to infiltrate sensitive networks, such as those belonging to banks and government ministries. “We are getting the service but there is not enough skill to protect us from hackers,” explains an IT expert in Rwanda who asked to remain anonymous. “Just ten days ago a government website was hacked.”

To minimise such incidents, says the source, there has to be greater focus in passing cybercrime legislation—something Rwanda is in the midst of processing—and greater investment in training people in network security. “IT is still developing,” he says. “Even in the US there is still a lack of formal training for security.”

However, with the opening of a Carnegie Mellon campus in Kigali next year, these needed skills will be offered. Students from all over the region will be invited to attend classes given by Carnegie Mellon professors who are well-versed in the area. Moreover, the Rwandan government will be providing scholarships for its own students to encourage their enrolment at the school.

Trafficking counterfeit pharmaceuticals, according to Interpol officials, also poses a serious threat to the region. An INTERPOL-led operation entitled Mamba III, conducted in 2010 across East Africa, netted 10 tones of counterfeit and illicit medical products, including 90 kilos in Rwanda, and led to the arrest of more than 80 illegal manufacturers.

According to John Patrick Mwesigye, the coordinator of the pharmacy task force in the ministry of health, most counterfeit medical products that reach Rwanda are smuggled from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi and consequently end up in the bordering western districts of Rusizi, Karongi and Rubavu.

However, Mwesigye says serious measures have been put into place to ensure the provision of safe and effective medicines. “44 companies are now permitted to supply pharmaceuticals and we make sure they keep in mind all regulations including quality and efficiency of what they import,” he says.

Mwesige, nevertheless acknowledges that Rwanda still lacks medical product quality control laboratories, but says there are plans to set them up in the next 15 months. “All we need in terms of financial means are available,” he says. “We are ready to start construction activities.”

But Rwanda’s borders are vulnerable to more than just counterfeit drugs; according to Vicent Mpunga who is in charge of the revenue protection department at Rwanda and Uganda’s Kagitumba border, opium and Waragi also find their way through porous areas of the border.

Moreover, Interpol findings show that since 2006 over 15000 motor vehicles have been checked against Interpol’s stolen motor vehicle database in the Eastern African region.

Tragically, people, most often vulnerable women and children are also trafficked across borders. According to the US State Department’s 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report, Rwanda was reported to be amongst a number of countries that serve as the source and to a lesser extent a destination country for women and children subjected to forced labor and sex.

The same report points out that this trafficking is facilitated by organized prostitution networks through which women supply other women or girls to clients staying at hotels. According to the report, Rwandan children are recruited and transported to Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, where they are subjected to forced agricultural labor, domestic servitude and child prostitution.

The Rwandan Director for International Cooperation Chief Superintendent Elisa Kabera says that the police are still struggling to identify and respond to suspected cases of human trafficking but that tactics such as a hotline to report such cases have been developed.

Moreover, Interpol has also pledged to work with EAPCCO by providing it with access to its I-24/7 communications system. Through I-24/7, users can search through and share important data, including databases of suspected criminals or wanted persons, stolen and lost travel documents, stolen motor vehicles, fingerprints, DNA profiles and stolen administrative documents.

The I-24/7 will also prove invaluable for tracking down outstanding genocide suspects. During the 10th annual EAPCCO summit in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, in September 2007, the Council of Police Chiefs had recognized the gravity of genocide as a crime against humanity and included it in their joint cooperation arrangement.

Kabera says that Rwanda consequently established red notices for genocide fugitives in various countries. “We released red notices with pictures of genocide suspects,” he explains. “We did our job. Only the Interpol managed to arrest 32 of 97 on the red notice.”

Although some of the most wanted genocide fugitives such as Ildephonse Nizeyimana, Juvenal Rugambarara, and Callixte Nzabonimana, the former minister of youth in the government of Juvenal Habyarimana, have been apprehended in EAPCCO member states, others such Felicien Kabuga, accused of bankrolling and participating in the genocide, remain at large.

Bringing such individuals to justice will undoubtedly be a priority for Rwanda’s Inspector General of Police Emmanuel K. Gasana, who was elected to succeed his Sudanese counterpart, Gen. Hashim Al Hussein, as EAPCCO’s chairman for the next 12 months.

With the opening of the East African community Common Market in July 2010, movement of goods and people across EAC member states’ borders was made free. Although this policy will create many economic benefits it will also produce greater security risks. In much of the same as security requires the vigilance and participation of everyone, a lack of security can have adverse impacts on everyone as well.

“Our region’s lack of security is antagonising foreign trade and investment. Criminality has developed into an international phenomenon like globalisation. This also creates a big challenge for us to fight its threat to peace,” said Rwandan Prime Minister Bernard Makuza at the opening of the Council of Ministers responsible for police issues. “Given the nature and magnitude of this trans-border criminality, governments should work jointly to contain it because we can no longer afford to face our enemies individually.””

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at or at one of the offices listed above.

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