The problem with the Interpol Presidency in Lyon

The inspiration for the existence of this institution comes in part from a Lyonnais, Professor Edmond Locard, also a true inventor of forensic science.

Interpol is a structure which aims to fight serious crime and terrorism in the world. A great mission that its agents operate with motivation and talent.

But the fact is, that once again, this powerful intergovernmental institution (and not international but I leave the amateurs of Public Law and Political Science to go and seek the difference!) Arouses controversy about its presidency. The Chinese Meng Hongwei, its former president, now imprisoned for corruption in his country, was for example one of the actors in the repression of the student movement of Tian’Anmen.

Tomorrow is the subject of the controversy I want to talk about today, it is perhaps Mr. Ahmed Naser Al-Raisi, general in the army of the United Arab Emirates, who could be in command of the institution located at the Cité Internationale in Lyon. Certainly the United Arab Emirates is not the worst place for human rights on the Arabian Peninsula. But everything is relative.

Behind the Instagrammers and Instagrammers who came to find refuge there in order to monetize their influence with brands without paying taxes, there is a repression of human rights actors and accusations of torture on the part of NGOs.

The activist Ahmed Mansour is imprisoned there for criticism of the regime, the researcher Matthew Hedges was arrested there for attempted espionage without any foundation. And we can even, like Mr. Issa Ahmad, find ourselves in police trouble because we supported the football team of (very undemocratic) Qatar instead of that of his country.

Of course, the real power at Interpol is primarily that of the Secretary General rather than that of the President. Certainly the election of the President is not made. Of course, we must also see that behind the controversy over Human Rights are playing games of influence: Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are not the last to soap the board in terms of international influence. Of course, there is also a political game when a relative of the deputy now Generation Ecology, Hubert Julien-Laferrière, expresses the desire to jostle the Mayor of Lyon EELV Grégory Doucet on this issue.

But, most importantly, there is also a deep unease about letting Interpol preside over by a man whose services are regularly accused of violating Human Rights …

Romain Blachier

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