VILNIUS – Lithuanian Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite on Tuesday urged Interpol member states not to support draft resolutions submitted by Russia and Belarus to the 91st General Assembly, the Interior Ministry says.
Bilotaite has sent letters to her counterparts in EU and countries and Schengen-associated countries, as well as to the EU' Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson.
"Our common position against these resolutions is of utmost importance in order to protect Interpol's core values and principles. I call for a broader alliance of democracies opposing the Russian and Belarusian proposals as our united efforts are essential to ensure Interpol's credibility and political neutrality, as well as an effective and transparent fight against transnational crime," Bilotaite said.
The minister is calling on countries to vote against both draft resolutions or to remove them from the agenda of Interpol's General Assembly.
According to the ministry, Russia's draft resolution to amend the Interpol Constitution, which proposes that Interpol members can only terminate their membership themselves, contradicts the resolution initiated by Ukraine and adopted last year at the Interpol General Assembly.
At the time, Ukraine raised the issue of removing or suspending Interpol members who violate the organization's rules and principles. Last year's resolution tasked the relevant Interpol working group to assess the legal aspects of removing or suspending members.
If adopted, the resolution proposed by Russia would not only negate the previous General Assembly resolution and the still ongoing work of the expert group, but it would also, in principle, negate the possibility of suspending Interpol members, even if they abuse their membership for political purposes and do not respect Interpol's core values.
For its part, arguing that the time limits for verification are too long, Belarus seeks to oblige Interpol to publish Interpol search reports after a certain period of time, even if they have not yet been verified. According to the Lithuanian interior minister, this would have a negative impact on the review by the Interpol General Secretariat and jeopardize Interpol's political neutrality.
And the issue of Interpol's political neutrality is of particular relevance to Lithuania in order to protect the judges, prosecutors and other officers who worked on the January 13th case from politically motivated persecution.
The 91st Interpol General Assembly will take place in Vienna from November 28 through December 1 and will mark Interpol's 100th anniversary.