Maria Haberfeld & William H McDonald. Handbook of Transnational Crime & Justice. Editor: Philip Reichel. Sage Publications, 2005.
The Concept of International Police Cooperation
The concept of international police cooperation, both formal and informal, has quite an extensive history. This chapter provides an overview of the two most prominent organizations embodying cooperation in international policing, Interpol and Europol. An overview of their history, missions, goals, and activities will familiarize the reader with the basic tenets of the global exchange of information on issues related to law enforcement.
As we become of necessity more and more global in our attempts to thwart the sophisticated groups of criminals, the urgent need for international police cooperation becomes increasingly apparent. Its clear relevance could not have been more clearly illustrated than in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 (9/11) terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The only practical and efficient way to combat terrorist actions, and the entire host of its spin-off activities such as money laundering and trafficking in weapons of mass destruction, is through mutual cooperation among law enforcement agencies around the world.
The feasibility of such cooperation in operational matters will be illustrated at the end of this chapter by an overview of the role of police in peacekeeping missions. Such cooperation, although limited in scope and authority, provides a baseline for creative solutions in areas subject to a variety of disasters. Whether one looks at the Balkans or, more recently, at Iraq, it is quite clear that international police cooperation cannot be confined to clearinghouse (exchange of information) type of operations only. We have reached the stage at which a proactive and reactive global law enforcement response is the only way to address the international nature of crime. The global nature of crime, transcending as it does borders, cultures, languages, and legal systems, must be met with an effective response. The organizations and task forces overviewed in this chapter seek to assist in providing such a response.
The information provided herein is based on a compilation of available data, primarily downloaded from the Internet, without any content analysis of the sources. The official Web sites of Interpol, Europol, and the United Nations provide the most valuable source of information for research on international police cooperation. The final part of this chapter provides some critical analysis of the effectiveness and perceived efficiency of these organizations and entities.
Interpol is the byname of the International Criminal Police Organization, an organization established to promote international criminal police cooperation. The name Interpol, once the telegraphic address of the organization, was officially incorporated into the new name adopted in 1956: International Criminal Police Organization-Interpol (abbreviated to ICPO-Interpol or, more frequently, Interpol).
The history of Interpol goes back to the 1920s. After World War I, Europe underwent a relatively new phenomenon, a great increase in crime. One of the countries most affected was Austria, which in 1923 hosted a meeting of the representatives of the criminal police of 20 nations to discuss the problems facing them. This meeting led to the establishment that same year of the International Police Commission (Interpol’s predecessor), which had its headquarters in Vienna. From 1923 until 1938, the commission flourished. However, in 1938, Austria became part of Nazi Germany, and the commission with all its records was moved to Berlin.
The outbreak of World War II brought the activities of the commission to a standstill. After World War II, the French government offered the International Police Commission new headquarters in Paris, together with the services of a number of French police officials to form the general secretariat. This offer was gratefully accepted, and the commission was thus revived, although its complete reorganization was necessary because all its prewar records had been lost or destroyed. The commission again became very active, and by 1955, the number of affiliated countries had increased from 19 to 55.
A modern and complete constitution for the organization was ratified in 1956. At the same time, its name was changed to the International Criminal Police Organization-Interpol (Interpol, n.d.).
In 2004, Interpol was the second largest international organization in terms of membership after the United Nations, with 181 member countries (as of April 2004), from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, spread over five continents. Among the member countries (see the complete list at http://www.interpol.int/Public/Icpo/Members/default.asp) are, for example, the People’s Republic of China, Cuba, and Vietnam; all the Arab nations, including Libya and Iraq; and all the former Soviet republics with the exception of Tadjikistan and Turkmenistan. North Korea is one of the few countries that are not members of Interpol. Affiliated with Interpol are, among others, India, Indonesia, the Russian Federation, and the United States as well as small such countries as Aruba, Monaco, and the Seychelles.
Every member country has an Interpol office called a National Central Bureau, which is staffed with the country’s own police officers. This bureau is the single point of contact for foreign governments requiring assistance with overseas investigations and information on the different police structures in other countries.
Contrary to popular belief, Interpol officers do not travel around the world investigating cases in different countries. Each member country employs its own officers to operate on its own territory and in accordance with its own national laws. Each member country can also send officers to serve a tour of duty at Interpol Headquarters in Lyon, France.
Interpol’s official Web site states that its mission is “to be the world’s pre-eminent police organization in support of all organizations, authorities, and services whose mission is preventing, detecting and suppressing crime” (Interpol, 2004h, col. 2). Interpol seeks to achieve this by providing both a global perspective and a regional focus; exchanging information that is timely, accurate, relevant, and complete; facilitating international cooperation; coordinating operational activities of the member countries; and making available know-how, expertise, and good practice.
Interpol offers three core services as it attempts to achieve its mission: (1) a unique global police communication system, (2) a range of criminal databases and analytical services, and (3) proactive support for police operations throughout the world (Interpol, 2004g).
Because of the politically neutral role Interpol must play, its constitution prohibits any involvement in the investigation of crimes that do not affect several member countries or engage in any activity of a political, military, religious, or racial character. Interpol’s work focuses primarily on public safety and terrorism, organized crime, illicit drug production and trafficking, weapons smuggling, human trafficking, money laundering, financial and high-tech crime, and corruption (Interpol, 2004f).
Interpol has two interrelated governing bodies—the General Assembly and the Executive Committee. Major decisions on the policy, budget, working methods, finances, and program of activities of Interpol are made by its General Assembly, which meets annually. It is composed of delegates appointed by the governments of member countries. Each member country represented has one vote.
The Executive Committee supervises the execution of the decisions of the General Assembly and the work of the secretary general. The committee has 13 members: the president (who chairs the committee), 4 vice presidents, and 8 delegates. The members are elected by the General Assembly and should represent different countries. The president and the four vice presidents must come from different continents. The president is elected for 4 years and the vice presidents for 3.
Decisions and recommendations adopted by the two governing bodies are implemented by the General Secretariat. The current (serving until 2005) Secretary-General, Ronald K. Noble, is the first non-European and the first American to hold the position. A native New Yorker and long-serving prosecutor, he has held senior law enforcement positions in the U.S. Treasury and Justice Departments and, most recently, was a professor of criminal law at New York University (Interpol, 2004f).
Interpol is financed by the annual contributions paid by the governments of its 181 member countries. These contributions are calculated on a sliding scale according to the gross national product of the member countries. Interpol is taking on a multibillion-dollar crime problem with an annual budget of only 32.8 million euros (about $39 million in 2004). Efficiency requires Interpol to use its limited resources and technology as well as the support of its member countries to the best advantage (Interpol, 2004f).
Terrorists often seek to justify their acts on ideological, political, or religious grounds. That might seem to place terrorism outside of Interpol’s reach because, as noted earlier, Interpol does not become involved in acts of political, military, religious, or racial character. However, Interpol does respond to acts of terrorism because those acts—regardless of their motivation—constitute a serious threat to individual lives and freedom.
Interpol’s role in fighting terrorism is twofold: to prevent acts of international terrorism and, if such acts are carried out, to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice. It does this by exchanging information with its member countries through its secure messaging system and by arranging meetings of experts to address the subject. Interpol collects, stores, analyzes, and disseminates intelligence about suspect individuals and groups and their activities. These data are provided by its member countries and are obtained from public and other sources of information that Interpol monitors. All terrorist-related information has to be shared in a systematic, timely, and accurate manner. The veracity and timeliness of the information are often directly proportional to its usefulness to the specialized officers within Interpol’s Public Safety and Terrorism Branch, who are tasked with assessing the threat and issuing alerts and warnings.
To help member countries report on suspect individuals, Interpol has issued a number of practical guidelines to its member countries on the type of information needed. This includes information about suspect individuals and groups, modus operandi, evidence from scenes of the crime, and the use of new technologies by terrorist groups.
As an example of these antiterrorist activities, following the attacks on 9/11 Interpol has issued 55 so-called red notices (notices are explained in more detail below) regarding terrorists suspected of having committed or been connected to these global terrorist attacks. Interpol is also increasing its circulation of so-called blue notices (requests for information/location of a suspect), of which 19 have already been issued for the presumed hijackers (Deridder, 2001, October).
One of the most important fields of activity of the global law enforcement community today is the apprehension of fugitives. First of all, fugitives attempting to evade capture by crossing international borders should be apprehended and returned, already in the interests of justice. Moreover, as a result of their criminal activity, fugitives pose a pervasive threat to public safety worldwide. Fugitives are mobile and opportunistic. They frequently finance their continued flight from the law by further criminal activities, which respect no traditional political or geographical boundaries and may result in criminal charges in more than one country (Interpol, 2004b).
Interpol’s activities in respect to international fugitives have been part of its core business since the creation of the organization. At the request of its member countries, Interpol electronically circulates on an international basis notices containing identification details and judicial information about wanted criminals. A number of countries have given Interpol’s red notices legal status as a basis for provisional arrest.
The General Secretariat of Interpol offers its member countries direct automatic search facilities and responds to queries concerning wanted persons. Although these are important tools in the hunt for fugitives, they are not sufficient. Interpol believes that its member countries need a proactive approach in locating and hunting fugitives at the international level. That is why, in an effort to further assist its member countries in apprehending fugitives, the secretary general has established a new investigative service at the General Secretariat, which deals exclusively with matters related to fugitives. The Fugitive Investigative Support Sub-Directorate, as it is known, actively encourages the international search for and arrest of fugitive offenders wherever they may hide, coordinates and enhances international cooperation in the field, collects and disseminates best practice and expert knowledge, offers direct investigative support and specialized knowledge, and develops and promotes best practice and training (Interpol, 2004b).
The International Notices System
One of Interpol’s most important functions is to help the police of its member countries in communicating critical crime-related information to one another. In practice, this is done primarily through Interpol’s system of notices, which help the world’s law enforcement community exchange information about missing persons, unidentified bodies, persons who are wanted for committing serious crimes, and criminal modus operandi. In addition, Interpol notices are used by the International Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda to seek persons wanted for serious violations of international human rights law (Interpol, 2003).
Each notice gives full details of the individual concerned, the relevant national arrest warrant or court order, and specifically requests that the fugitive be traced and arrested or detained with a view to extradition.
Interpol issues five types of notices: (1) Red notices, based on a national arrest warrant, are used to seek the arrest and extradition of suspects. (2) Blue notices are used to seek information on the identity of persons or on their illegal activities related to a criminal matter. Such blue notices are used primarily for tracing and locating offenders when the decision to seek to extradite them has not yet been made and for locating witnesses to crimes. (3) Green notices are used to provide warnings and criminal intelligence about persons who have committed criminal offenses and who are likely to repeat these crimes in other countries. (4) Yellow notices are used to help locate missing persons, including children, or to help people (such as persons suffering from amnesia) to identify themselves. Finally, (5) black notices are used to determine the identity of deceased persons (Interpol, 2003).
Interpol notices often concern fugitives, terrorists, and violent criminals who pose an imminent danger to people throughout the world, as well as perpetrators of other forms of serious crime with an international dimension. For this reason, Interpol notices should be processed quickly by the General Secretariat and responded to quickly by the National Central Bureaus. To minimize delays in exchanging information on notices, to make it less labor-intensive, and in general to improve efficiency, Interpol’s General Secretariat introduced a more rapid and cost-efficient procedure for requesting and issuing notices. The previous paper-based system was converted into an electronic system at the disposal of member countries with the necessary technical equipment. This new system allows all member countries a secure, speedy, and efficient possibility of requesting and receiving notices in an electronic format. The faster circulation of notices from and to the National Central Bureaus coincided with the introduction at the General Secretariat of a new 72-hour production deadline for high-priority notices, such as notices regarding terrorists (Interpol, 2003).
All new notices are now published on Interpol’s restricted-access Web site. This allows all member countries having the necessary electronic capability to access them directly and to print copies where needed. In addition, Interpol is seeking to publish all red, yellow, and black notices on Interpol’s public Web site unless a member country directly concerned requests otherwise. Public knowledge of an arrest warrant is often of great value to law enforcement agencies in their efforts to obtain information that is important to their work (Interpol, 2003).
Children and Human Trafficking
In 1989, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted. The convention has the highest number of signatories ever, 190 countries. The purpose of the convention is to protect all children from all forms of abuse. The convention requires its signatories to take all appropriate measures to prevent child prostitution and the production of child pornography.
Interpol’s involvement in the investigation of offenses against children began in 1989, following the adoption of the U.N. convention. A specialized Trafficking of Human Beings Sub-Directorate was set up at Interpol Headquarters, and the combating of crimes against children became Interpol’s highest priority. Furthermore, Interpol’s Specialist Group on Crimes against Children (formerly known as the Standing Working Party on Offences against Minors) brings together law enforcement officers from every continent to exchange information, develop working relationships, and agree on and implement operational matters. These semiannual meetings now attract more than 100 police officers from some 40 countries. The Specialist Group deals with child prostitution, child pornography, missing children, and trafficking in children and has recently taken on the issue of the management of sex offenders, which reflects the reality that to protect children, known sex offenders need to be prevented from reoffending. The Specialist Group has also produced the Interpol Handbook of Good Practice for Specialized Officers Dealing With Crimes Against Children. This handbook has been circulated to all member countries (Cameron-Waller, 2001).
Interpol is also deeply engaged in combating the increasing amount of child pornography, especially that distributed over the Internet. Interpol’s General Secretariat has set up an automated image comparison database that is capable of linking series of images to provide investigators with the tools necessary to rapidly analyze data seized from persons suspected of involvement in child pornography. In recent years, Interpol has coordinated a number of international operations that have been initiated by individual member countries and that have led to significant successes in identifying and prosecuting those who are active in child pornography (Cameron-Waller, 2001).
Interpol maintains a database on missing and abducted children on behalf of the 181 member countries. The only children appearing on this Web site are those on whom the respective law enforcement authorities have requested that Interpol circulate information on an international basis, which is why, out of the very large number of children who go missing, only a few hundred appear in the database (Interpol, 2004i).
In June 1999, Interpol’s General Secretariat, at the request of member countries, initiated Project Bridge to facilitate more effective and efficient collection of information on organized crime groups and associations involved in the smuggling of immigrants and to improve the combating of this form of crime by undertaking adequate prevention and investigative measures (Interpol, 2004k).
Interpol’s Criminal Organizations and Drug Sub-Directorate is located within the Criminal Intelligence Directorate of its General Secretariat. This subdirectorate is the central repository of professional and technical expertise in drug control within the Interpol framework and provides assistance, for example, to National Central Bureaus. Essentially, it acts as a clearinghouse for the collection, collation, analysis, and dissemination of drug-related information. It also monitors the drug situation on a global basis, seeks to identify international drug trafficking organizations, coordinates international investigations, and maintains liaison with the United Nations, its specialized agencies, and other international and regional organizations involved in drug control activities.
Interpol’s Criminal Organizations and Drug Sub-Directorate seeks to enhance cooperation among member countries and to stimulate the exchange of information among all national and international enforcement bodies concerned with countering the illicit production, traffic, and use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. In addition to responding to international drug investigation inquiries and coordinating international drug investigations where at least two member countries are involved, the subdirectorate organizes working meetings involving two or more countries where common links have been identified in cases being investigated in those member countries. The subdirectorate also organizes either regional or worldwide meetings on specific drug topics, on an annual or ad hoc basis. The aims of these meetings on specific topics include assessing the extent of the drug problem in question, exchanging information on the latest methods of investigative techniques, and further strengthening cooperation within the law enforcement communities.
With its worldwide membership, Interpol is able to follow developments around the world in relation to drug trafficking. This offers the possibility of making links between drug cases being conducted by national administrations, links that would otherwise seem unrelated. When it is clearly established that there is good potential for developing a substantial case, this case is given an operational name. As the case is developed, a working meeting of the concerned countries can be organized to bring together all of the case officers concerned to discuss all aspects of the case and devise future strategy (Interpol, 1999).
Some transnational crimes are clearly financial in nature (e.g., money laundering), but even those without an obvious link will likely involve illicit financial transactions as an integral aspect of the crime. In its capacity of facilitating the cooperative efforts of police, international institutions, and the private sector, Interpol has an important role in responding to financial crime.
Interpol assumed responsibility for counterfeit currency as a result of an international treaty, the 1929 International Convention for the Suppression of Counterfeiting Currency (known as the 1929 Geneva Convention), but there are no similar arrangements for counterfeit payment cards, and it is unlikely that there will be such arrangements in the near future. Payment cards are increasingly being used as a substitute for cash. With the growth of debit card activity and emergence of electronic applications, the trend is likely to increase rather than diminish. Although it is difficult to be specific about the quantity of counterfeit currency in circulation, which varies considerably from country to country, its monetary value is thought to be far less than the millions of dollars in losses a year as a result of payment card counterfeiting (Interpol, 2004j).
The international police community is aware that there is a need to achieve major results in the struggle against the financial criminal activities related to organized criminal groups. During the past 20 years, Interpol’s General Assembly has passed a number of resolutions that have called on member countries to concentrate their investigative resources on identifying, tracing, and seizing the assets of criminal enterprises.
These resolutions have also called on member countries to increase the exchange of information in this field and encourage governments to adopt laws and regulations that would allow access by the police to the financial records of criminal organizations and would also allow the confiscation of proceeds gained by criminal activity. A concise working definition of money laundering was adopted by Interpol’s General Assembly in 1995: It is defined as any act or attempted act to conceal or disguise the identity or illegally obtained proceeds so that they appear to have originated from legitimate sources.
On September 17, 2001, a Financial and High Tech Crime Sub-Directorate was established within the Specialised Crimes Directorate of ICPO-Interpol. Police officers in the subdirectorate also deal with offenses relating to money laundering, counterfeit currency, payment cards, and intellectual property. The subdirectorate seeks to provide National Central Bureaus with expertise in specialized areas and enhance partnerships with relevant organizations, develop and coordinate best practices, and increase the flow and exchange of information related to these forms of crime (Interpol, 2004c).
Intellectual Property Crime
This particular area of crime covers an array of offenses from trademark and patent right infringements to software piracy and affects a vast range of products from medicines to aircraft and vehicle spare parts, from clothing to music CDs and computer software. The total losses caused by this form of crime add up to hundred of billions of U.S. dollars globally every year. Interpol has recognized the extensive involvement of organized crime and terrorist groups in intellectual property crime. In 2000, the Interpol General Assembly mandated the Interpol General Secretariat to take action not only to raise awareness of the problem but also to provide a strategic plan in close cooperation with private industry (Interpol, 2004d).
Interpol’s first international conference on intellectual property crime (Lyon, France, November 15-16, 2001) led to the establishment of a Group of Experts on Intellectual Property Crime, bringing together representatives of all the key stakeholders, including custom authorities, international agencies, and the private sector. The Group of Experts functions as a forum for the exchange of information and facilitation of investigations into intellectual property offenses and will also offer support through tailored training programs. The group will be multi-agency, drawing its membership from public and private sectors (Interpol, 2004d).
Interpol’s International Group of Experts on Corruption (IGEC) was established in 1998. Its membership consists of law enforcement representatives from eight countries (including the United States), a representative of Interpol’s General Secretariat, and seven other persons representing a variety of international organizations, the international financial services community, and academia. This group was mandated to develop and implement an anticorruption strategy, with the objective of not only raising awareness of the major issues but also, and in particular, improving the capacity and effectiveness of law enforcement in the fight against corruption (Interpol, 2004a).
The original concept and structure of the group was, in essence, that it should be made up in equal numbers of representatives of the Interpol regions—namely, Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. This would allow for coordination and harmonization of the different national and regional approaches to combating corruption. In addition, an advisory group was set up, consisting of a variety of other international stakeholders in anticorruption efforts. The purpose behind the proposal for such a group was to enable law enforcement to combat corruption (as a phenomenon) holistically, in cooperation with all major stakeholders and the community at large.
Among its activities, the IGEC has prepared a code of ethics and code of conduct (subsequently adopted by Interpol’s General Assembly in 1999), a survey of police integrity in its 181 member countries, and global standards to combat corruption in police forces and services (adopted by Interpol’s General Assembly in 2002).
The global standards referred to consist of several principles and numerous measures designed to improve the integrity of police forces and services, as well as efficacy in combating corruption, and to represent an ideal toward which the Interpol member countries should strive. These standards have been well received by the international law enforcement community and mark the beginning of a proactive approach for law enforcement in combating corruption (Interpol, 2004a).
Interpol’s primary publications include the International Criminal Police Review and International Crime Statistics. The International Criminal Police Review, which was published between 1946 and 2001, is not currently in production as Interpol reassesses the publication’s role. However, sample articles since 1998 are available at the publication’s Web site (http://www.interpol.int/Public/Publications/ICPR/default.asp) and the interested reader will find information on subjects such as investigation techniques, forensic science, and international crime.
Interpol has published International Crime Statistics every 2 years since 1950 and every year since 1993. Since 2000, the publication has been available electronically on a country-by-country basis (free of charge) and in four languages (Arabic, English, French, and Spanish).
The statistics relate to the following major categories of offenses brought to the attention of the police: murder, sexual offenses (including rape), serious assault, theft (e.g., aggravated theft, robbery and violent theft, breaking and entering, theft of motor cars), fraud, counterfeit currency offenses, drug offenses, and the total number of offenses contained in national crime statistics.
The data are provided by the National Central Bureaus, and Interpol publishes them as submitted, without any attempt to process them. Due primarily to the legal and procedural differences in the different countries and the differences in statistical methods, the statistics cannot be used for comparative purposes. Police statistics reflect only reported crimes, which represent only a fraction of the “real” level of crime. Furthermore, the volume of crime reported to the police depends, to a certain extent, on the action of police and can vary with time, as well as from country to country. Consequently, the data published in the current set of statistics should be interpreted with caution (Interpol, 2004e).
In 2001, the Interpol General Secretariat set up the Directorate for Regional and National Police Services. It comprises five subdirectorates—Africa, Americas, Asia and South Pacific, Europe, Middle East and North Africa—and a Sub-Regional Co-ordination Bureau. Underlying the establishment of the directorate was the realization that practical law enforcement needs in each region vary to some extent. By promoting a network of regional institutions and developing effective strategic alliances with other institutions, Interpol seeks to provide better-tailored assistance through its National Central Bureaus. In time, the bureau of each region will have the same facilities as the General Secretariat.
To illustrate the work of the regional subdirectorates, the Sub-Directorate for the Americas can be examined more closely (see Interpol, 2004l). Its primary mission is to support regional and national crime-fighting activities in the Americas by providing a wide range of operational and administrative services.
The subdirectorate covers 37 member countries and seven sub-bureaus, servicing a total area of more than 15 million square miles and a population of more than 800 million. For management purposes, the region has been divided into four subregions: North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. All the Interpol National Bureaus in the Americas are linked by computer, enabling them to exchange information bilaterally with other National Bureaus and with the General Secretariat in Lyon.
The objectives of this and other subdirectorates are to address regional crime issues, increase the flow and exchange of information on priority crime issues, increase the exchange of information with regions, make information available on regional basis, and provide adequate support at the regional and national level. The staff of the subdirectorate analyzes crime reports prepared in the region to identify emerging crime trends and to prepare adequate responses. It also assists in specific cases—for example, by monitoring and helping to coordinate complicated ongoing criminal investigations and by organizing and supporting ad hoc working groups on specific cases. The subdirectorate seeks to provide backup support to individual National Central Bureaus by identifying problems and assisting the bureaus in overcoming difficulties. More generally, the subdirectorate seeks to improve the quantity and quality of information entered into the Interpol databases, promotes the relevant training programs in the region, pursues and promotes agreements with regional law enforcement organizations and other potential Interpol partners, and provides secretariat support for Interpol activities in the Americas, such as the American Regional Conference and other meetings organized by Interpol in the region (Interpol, 2004l).
The European Union was originally established largely to promote the economic integration of its member states. Economic integration, however, brings with it new opportunities for offenders, above all the ease with which they can transcend national borders. Because crime was being increasingly organized at a European level rather than on a national or local level, politicians agreed that an organization was needed that could coordinate the law enforcement resources of member states to effectively tackle crime on a pan-European level (a level that as of May 1, 2004, encompasses 25 countries). In 1992, the Maastricht Treaty established Europol’s predecessor, the European Drugs Unit. It formally began operations on January 3, 1994. The European Drugs Unit had a rather limited mandate; it was focused on supporting each member state’s fight against drugs and the associated money laundering.
The Convention on the Establishment of a European Police Office (the Europol Convention) was adopted on July 26, 1995, and by 1998 had been ratified by all the member states. On July 1, 1999, Europol formally took over the work of the European Drugs Unit. It is based in The Hague, in the Netherlands. Its remit has grown from drugs policing to include areas of serious crime as diverse as terrorism, drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings, illegal immigration, trafficking in radioactive and nuclear substances, trafficking in stolen motor vehicles, counterfeiting of the euro, and money laundering associated with international criminal activities (British Broadcasting Corporation [BBC], 2003; Europol, 2004).
As is the case with Interpol, Europol is (at least at present) not an operational entity in that Europol staff members do not have police powers in the individual member states. Thus, they do not, for example, investigate offenses or question suspects. Instead, Europol seeks to support the law enforcement agencies of all its member states primarily by gathering and analyzing information and intelligence specifically about people who are members or possible members of criminal organizations that operate internationally. This information is received from a variety of sources, such as the national police forces as well as other international crime-fighting organizations (such as Interpol), and is entered into computers for processing and analysis. When Europol identifies information that requires action by the national law enforcement agencies, such as connections identified between criminal offenses, it notifies the competent authorities without delay of information concerning them. Europol is also charged with the task of developing expertise in certain fields of crime and making this expertise available to the member states when needed (Europol, 2002c, 2004). Europol thus serves as a link between the law enforcement agencies of the member states of the European Union. On October 16, 1999, an essentially parallel unit called Eurojust was created to serve the same function among the prosecution authorities of the member states. To foster close cooperation between Eurojust and Europol—necessary in particular because of the key role that the prosecutors have in many member states in guiding the course of police investigations— Eurojust also has its headquarters in The Hague, in the Netherlands (Eurojust, n.d.).
Organizational Structure, Management, and Control
Europol is above all a body for the coordination of international law enforcement. The police officers working at Europol fall into two categories: regular staff members and liaison officers. The regular staff members (some 391 as of January 2004) take care of the joint activities, such as planning and analysis. The liaison officers (some 60 as of January 2004) represent a variety of national law enforcement agencies: the police, customs, gendarmerie, immigration services, and so on. Their function is largely to work together on individual cases that affect their national law enforcement interests. For example, if an analysis of data shows that a case may have connections with Germany and Spain, the German and Spanish liaison officers will meet together to discuss how to deal with the case. They will then liaise with the competent national or local law enforcement authorities to ensure follow-through.
Europol is accountable to the European Union Council of Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs (Europol, 2002d). The council is responsible for the main control and guidance function of Europol. It appoints the director and deputy directors and adopts the budget. It also adopts a number of important implementing regulations related to Europol’s work. Each year, the council forwards a special report to the European Parliament on the work of Europol. The European Parliament is also consulted if the Europol Convention or other Europol regulations are amended.
Europol’s Management Board is composed of one representative of each member state. Each member has one vote. The Commission of the European Communities is also invited to attend the meetings of the Management Board with nonvoting status. The Management Board meets at least twice a year to discuss a wide range of Europol issues that relate to its current activities and its future developments. It also unanimously adopts a general report on Europol’s activities during the previous year. The Management Board also adopts a report on Europol’s future activities, taking into account the operational requirements of member states as well as the budgetary and staffing implications for Europol. These reports are submitted to the Council of Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs for approval (Europol, 2002d).
Europol is headed by a director appointed by the council acting unanimously, after obtaining the opinion of the Management Board, for a 5-year period. The director’s mandate may be renewed once for a further period of 4 years. The director is responsible for the day-to-day administration of Europol, the performance of its tasks, the personnel management, and other tasks assigned to him or her by the Europol Convention or by the Management Board. The director is assisted by deputy directors, also appointed by the council, for a 4-year period, renewable once.
After the events of 9/11, the Interpol Directorate was partially restructured. The three departments—Investigation Support, Intelligence Analysis, and Organized Crime— were combined into one single department called Serious Crime, thus combining information exchange, analysis, and expertise.
Cooperation with Third Countries and International Organizations
Europol has improved its international law enforcement cooperation by signing bilateral agreements with the following non-EU countries and international organizations: Iceland, Norway, and the United States, and the European Central Bank, the European Monitoring Centre on Drug and Drug Addiction, Interpol, and the World Custom Organization. Furthermore, Europol opened a Liaison Office in Washington D.C. (Europol, 2004).
The Europol Computer System
The Europol Convention calls on Europol to establish and maintain a computerized system to allow input, access, and analysis data. The convention lays down a strict framework for human rights and data protection, control, supervision, and security. The Europol Computer System (TECS) will have three principal components: an information system, an analysis system, and an index system (Europol, 2004).
The analysis and index systems are already in place. A provisional version of the information system became operational on January 1, 2002. More advanced versions that will eventually connect all member states are under development.
Because of the strict data protection legislation in many member states of the European Union, the Europol Convention set up a special body to ensure compliance with such legislation: the Joint Supervisory Body. This body is composed of two representatives of each of the national Supervisory Bodies, appointed for 5 years by each member state. Each delegation has one vote. Its task is to review the activities of Europol to ensure that the rights of the individual are not violated by the storage, processing, and use of the data held by Europol. It also monitors the permissibility of the transmission of data originating from Europol. Each individual has the right to request the Joint Supervisory Body to ensure that the manner in which his or her personal data have been collected, stored, processed, and used by Europol is lawful and accurate (Europol, 2002d).
Europol is funded by contributions from the member states, calculated on the basis of their gross national product. The budget for 2003 was 55.5 million euros (approximately $68 million). The annual accounts of Europol are subject to an audit, which is carried out by the Joint Audit Committee (Europol, 2004).
Europol is deeply involved in combating all kinds of major crimes taking place in the member states. The results of its activities are published in detail in the Europol Annual Reports. The following is a presentation of selected Europol activities based on its annual reports for 2001 and 2002 (Europol, 2002a, 2002b).
Following the events of 9/11 and the subsequent decisions taken by the EU Council of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers on September 20, 2001, Europol together with the member states set up a Counter-Terrorism Task Force (CTTF) to implement a comprehensive set of measures. The CTTF consists of experts and liaison officers from the police forces and services of member states, as well as intelligence services in an unprecedented exercise of cooperation and collaboration.
In addition to the creation of the CTTF, Europol provided several products and services related to counterterrorism. The exchange of counterterrorist information between member states by way of the Europol liaison officers and the network of national units expanded. A special conference on terrorism was held in Madrid (January 29-February 2, 2002). Several directories were updated—for example, on the counterterrorism responsibilities on the national level within each member state, counterterrorism legislation in member states, and the counterterrorism competencies/centers of excellence in the member states.
The Open Source Digest on terrorism-related activity is disseminated to the member states on a weekly basis. Also updated was the Glossary of Terrorist Groups, containing basic details about their origins, ideology/ objectives, leadership, and activities.
Periodical trends and situation reports are provided on topics related to terrorism, based on open sources information that is reported by member states to Europol.
Financial Crimes and other Crimes against Property and Public Goods, Including Fraud
In the area of financial and property crime, Europol’s activities currently focus on providing strategic support, while preparing for more operational activities in the immediate future. In the field of money laundering, Europol began to systematically collect information on suspicious transactions that were identified by the law enforcement and judicial authorities of the member states. Further strategic support included the issuing of information bulletins on specific matters related to financial investigations, and assistance in an initiative to create a European Manual on Money Laundering. An E.U. “Situation Report” was elaborated in the area of combating credit card fraud. The result of this work will be used to define a common E.U. strategy to fight this phenomenon.
The Financial Crime Information Centre was further developed with a view to providing member states with access through a secure Web site. This Web site includes a library of information related to financial matters and various technical subjects related to financial investigations.
As for stolen vehicles, Europol was involved in 2001 in three operations concerning trafficking in stolen motor vehicles in Europe. Europol supported these operations by providing analytical support, coordinating the international cooperation, and coordinating the information exchange. To give a flavor of the clear operational results of these activities, one investigation resulted in the identification of 705 stolen vehicles and 130 suspects, and another operation led to 10 arrests of suspects and the issuing of 5 international arrest warrants. An investigation of the re-registration of secondhand cars identified 216 vehicles stolen in E.U. member states and reregistered in third countries. Europol initiated several bilateral investigations between third countries and member states.
In cooperation with the German and Austrian authorities, Europol developed the international European Vehicle Identification Database. This database was developed and translated by Europol and is now available in German, English, and French. Europol also developed the Blanco Documents Database containing stolen blank vehicle registration documents of various countries.
Combating Drug-Related Criminality
Europol has supported operational projects against, for example, Turkish, Latin American, and indigenous criminal groups. There has been an improvement in both the quality and quantity of information supplied to Europol. This has led to the identification of criminals, new common targets, and links between investigations, as well as improvement in cooperation among the member states based on intelligence and analysis supplied by Europol.
During 2001, Europol assisted law enforcement teams in three member states in the dismantling of nine illicit laboratories and the collection of evidence, thus contributing to seizures of synthetic drugs and precursors and to the arrests of several suspects. Currently, there are two expert systems related to drugs in place at Europol: the Ecstasy Logo System and the Cocaine Logo System. These systems improve law enforcement cooperation in member states through the identification of the links between seizures of ecstasy tablets and cocaine, primarily based on certain particularities of the seized drugs.
Following a ban on opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan and the 9/11 events, Europol also drafted a report on the situation of opium production in this country, the world’s largest producer of opium. In the framework of the Joint Action on New Synthetic Drugs, Europol, together with the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drugs Addiction (EMCDDA), drafted joint progress reports on GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate, a “rape drug”), ketamine, and PMMA (polymethylmethacrylate). As a direct result of the E.U. Action Plan on Drugs 2000-2004, a Collection Model for drug seizure statistics was drafted by Europol, in close cooperation with experts from member states and the EMCDDA.
A Model of Parameters for the Assessment of the European Drugs Strategy, drafted by Europol in cooperation with experts from member states and the EMCDDA, has been adopted by the Horizontal Working Party on Drugs and was implemented in 2002.
Under the PHARE (Poland and Hungary: Action for the Restructuring of the Economy) Synthetic Drug Assistance Programme, during 2001, Europol organized and gave training courses on the dismantling of illicit laboratories to law enforcement officers, forensic scientists, and public prosecutors from several East European countries. In addition, training was provided to specialist teams in the Netherlands. Europol also assisted French authorities in a joint training program on synthetic drugs and precursors for law enforcement staff from Latin American countries.
International Police Task Forces
Peacekeeping Operations: The Police Component
From 1948 up to the present, more than 65 international peacekeeping missions or operations have been established worldwide, primarily, but not exclusively, under the flag of the United Nations. All these operations have included the contribution of law enforcement agencies, which so far have come from a total of 89 countries. Nonetheless, the main components of these peacekeeping forces have been military units, and the police component usually played only a minor part.
A few examples illustrate the role of the police in peacekeeping operations. The United Nations peacekeeping operation in the territory of the former Yugoslavia (the U.N. Protection Force), which lasted from 1992 to 1995, involved 37,795 military personnel and only 803 police officers. The U.N. peacekeeping operation in Cyprus, which began in 1964 and continues at present, has involved 1,373 military personnel and only 35 police officers.
This ratio of military to police was more in favor of the police component in the peacekeeping operation in Namibia, from April 1989 through March 1990. The operation involved 4,493 military personnel and 1,500 police officers. The very recent U.N. peacekeeping operation in East Timor, which began on May 20, 2002, is being carried out by a contingent of 5,000 troops and 1,250 police officers from 33 countries.
In the following, the peacekeeping operations that have involved a sizable police force component are examined more closely, in chronological order.
The U.N. International Police Task Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The first peacekeeping operation involving a sizable police force component followed the work of the U.N. Protection Force mentioned above. This was the U.N. Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), which included the U.N. International Police Task Force. UNMIBH began in January 1995 and continued until the European Union took over the responsibility from the United Nations in January 2003 (in the form of the E.U. Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina).
Since the International Police Task Force (IPTF) was an organic component of UNMIBH, understanding the place and role of the IPTF requires a description of the organizational structure, the scope of the mission, and the other components of UNMIBH.
In 1946, the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) became part of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia. The population of the republic (almost 4 million) is ethnically diverse. According to the 1991 census, 44% of the population were Muslims, 31% were Serbs, and 17% were Croats. For many years, a seemingly endless conflict had been carried out among these ethnic groups in the fields of religious, economic, cultural, and political life. As long as Yugoslavia was under Communist rule, under the leadership of Marshall Tito, these conflicts were “hidden under the cover.” The post-Tito regime in Yugoslavia was not able to deal with these and other, no less important, conflicts, which beset all six federal republics. As a result of growing tensions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, on April 7, 1992, a civil war broke out. Serb paramilitary forces started firing on Sarajevo, and the bombardment of the city by heavy artillery began soon thereafter.
During this war, which spread to all the parts of the territory of BiH (about 20,000 square miles) and lasted until November 1995, approximately 200,000 people died and more than 2 million were driven from their homes.
The member states of the United Nations were unable to agree on military intervention, although the United Nations did send troops to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. This mandate was later extended to the protection of a number of territories declared by the United Nations as “safe areas.” A cease-fire negotiated in December 1994 generally held until mid-March 1995.
In May 1995, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces launched air strikes on Serb targets (70% of the territory of BiH was then under Serb control), after the Serb military refused to comply with a U.N. ultimatum to remove all heavy weapons from a 12-mile exclusion zone around Sarajevo. Further NATO air strikes against Serb targets and a new offensive by the BiH and Croatian military helped to bring about U.S.-sponsored peace talks in Dayton, Ohio, in November 1995. Formalized in Paris in December of the same year, the agreement called for a federal-ized BiH in which 51% of the land would constitute the Croat-Bosnian federation and 49% would constitute the Serb Republic (Republika Srpska). The Dayton-Paris Agreement, which contained 15 detailed articles and 11 annexes, covered a broad range of issues, from the military aspects of the peace settlement and the delineation of a boundary between the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska to the holding of democratic elections, the protection of human rights, and assistance to refugees. Part of the Dayton-Paris Agreement called for the withdrawal of the U.N. Protection Force and the deployment of the NATO-led multinational Implementation Force (IFOR), and in this connection also the establishment of the IPTF.
On December 20, 1995, IFOR replaced the U.N. Protection Force. On the next day, December 21, the U.N. Security Council set up the IPTF and the U.N. Civil Affairs office, brought together as the UNMIBH, originally for a period of 1 year. The Security Council renewed the UNMIBH mandate on several occasions, the last one extending the mandate to December 31, 2002, at which time UNMIBH was terminated (U.N. Peace and Security Section, 2003a).
UNMIBH’s mandate was to contribute to the establishment of the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina, assist in reforming and restructuring the local police, monitoring and auditing the performance of the police and others involved in the maintenance of law order, and monitor and investigate police compliance with human rights (U.N. Peace and Security Section, 2003b).
To implement this, UNMIBH monitored, observed and inspected law enforcement activities and facilities, advised law enforcement personnel and forces, facilitated the law enforcement activities of the parties within the IPTF mission of assistance, trained law enforcement personnel, assessed threats to the public and advised on the capability of law enforcement agencies to deal with such threats, advised authorities in BiH on the organization of effective civilian law enforcement agencies, andassisted by accompanying the local law enforcement personnel as they carried out their responsibilities.
The main components of the UNMIBH were the IPTF, the Civil Affairs unit and the Division of Administration, which included the work of the U.N. Trust Funds (three separate trust funds were established by the U.N. secretary-general: the Restoration of Essential Public Services in Sarajevo in March 1994, the Police Assistance Programme in December 1995, and the Emergency Assistance Trust Projects outside Sarajevo in 2001). UNMIBH had a nationwide presence with regional headquarters in Banja Luca, Bihac, Doboj, Mostar, and Tuzla and a district headquarters in Brcko (U.N. Peace and Security Section, 2003a).
The IPTF had an authorized strength of 2,057 police officers representing 43 countries, approximately 336 international civilian staff members from around 48 countries, and 1,575 locally recruited staff members. In October 2002, as the IPTF was nearing the end of its mandate, the United States and Jordan were providing the greatest number of police officers. Other countries contributing large numbers of officers included Bulgaria, Egypt, France, Ghana, India, Ireland, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, the Russian Federation, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. During the 7 years that the IPTF was in existence, due to the rotation of police officers, more than 8,000 police officers from 43 countries took part (U.N. Security Council, 2002).
Mandate Implementation Plan, 2000-2002
The Mandate Implementation Plan (MIP) was a consolidated strategic and operational framework for the completion of UNMIBH’s core mandate in Bosnia and Herzegovina. On the basis of the relevant Security Council resolutions, the MIP identified the objectives of the mission and the programs and modalities used to achieve those objectives. With the full cooperation of the parties and the support of international partners, UNMIBH’s assessed that the following goals could be met during its mandate (see, e.g., UNMIBH Public Affairs, n.d.):
All law enforcement personnel meet internationally determined standards of professional competence and personal integrity.
All civilian law enforcement agencies meet internationally determined standards of organizational capability and institutional integrity while progressively meeting the benchmarks for multiethnic representation.
The institutional, legislative, and operational requirements for effective civilian police and judicial cooperation in law enforcement are in place.
The State Border Service is fully established, and there is effective cooperation between law enforcement institutions at inter-entity, state, and international levels.
The public and the police know their respective rights and duties and how to exercise them.
BiH is supported in playing a full role as a member state of the United Nations.
The Police Component (The International Police Task Force)
The IPTF monitored and advised local police with the objective of changing the primary focus of the police from the security of the state to the protection of the individual. In so doing, IPTF was helping to restructure and reform the local police to create democratic and professional police forces that should be multiethnic, effective, transparent, impartial, accountable, and representative of the society they serve and that will facilitate the return of refugees and displaced persons.
IPTF aimed to create a professional police force that met international standards and accurately reflected the ethnic composition of the population according to the 1991 census in the federation and the 1997 election results in the Republika Srpska and by encouraging female recruitment. IPTF registered some 25,278 local police personnel.
Special Trafficking Operations Program (STOP)
This program was established in June 2001 to address the issue of the trafficking of women and girls for prostitution in Bosnia and Herzegovina. STOP teams (IPTF staff together with the local police) throughout the country actively coordinated their efforts with the relevant entity and cantonal authorities to ensure that all establishments determined to be involved in using trafficked woman and girls for prostitution were closed and that traffickers and brothel owners were brought to justice (Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, 2003; U.N. U.N. Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2002).
The End of the Mandate
On December 31, 2002, the mandate of the UNMBIH, including its police component (the IPTF), was successfully completed. This mission and the IPTF made up the most extensive police reform and restructuring mission ever undertaken by the United Nations.
On a global scale, when we take into consideration the approximately 8,000 police officers from 43 different countries who served in the IPTF during the 7 years of its existence, the task force was unprecedented. The service of so many police officers in the BiH was quite fruitful. The UNBMIH and its main component, the IPTF, leave behind a legacy of democratic law enforcement, ensuring a secure environment for returning refugees. Independent local police structures have been established in the country, with approximately 16,000 law enforcement officers certified after a comprehensive verification process. All local police officers have been trained in basic standards of democratic policing. Progress has been made on minority recruitment and gender balance through the two police academies established by the UNMIBH and the IPTF.
It is highly symbolic that, among other police forces from various countries that are presently serving in the U.N. Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET), there is also a team of police officers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, who have developed under the help and supervision of the IPTF in that country (U.N. Mission of Support in East Timor, 2002).
The IPTF in BiH assisted not only in healing the wounds left by the tragic massacre of the 1992-1994 war but also in enlarging the scope of peace building and in laying the foundations for recovery. Bosnia and Herzegovina now has a “police force fit for Europe,” firmly based on international standards of democratic policing and in the service of all citizens of BiH. It represents a major stride forward toward European integration. The foundation for a secure and stable environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been laid.
The U.N. Liaison Office in Sarajevo
The U.N. Liaison Office in Sarajevo was established in January 2003. Its main task is to ensure a seamless transition from the UNMBIH and its IPTF, which completed their mandate on December 31, 2002, to the European Union Police Mission (EUPM).
The U.N. Liaison Office assists the EUPM in the implementation of its mandate. The aim is to preserve and build on the achievements of the UNMIBH in police reform and restructuring. The Liaison Office provides the institutional memory of the UNMIBH mission to EUPM to ensure continuity in the democratization process of law enforcement agencies.
Another task of the Liaison Office is to maintain close contact and continue the political dialogue with the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the state and entity levels. In addition, the office continues communication and close liaison with the Office of the High Representative, the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other international organizations.
The U.N. Trust Fund, after the successful implementation of its projects to equip the local police, continues with the implementation of a number of projects in Bosnia-Herzegovina aimed at the rehabilitation of the devastated infrastructure and the restoration of essential public services. The Liaison Office assumes the role of observing the implementation of U.N. Trust Fund projects and organizes media coverage on project completion (U.N. Liaison Office Sarajevo, 2002).
The European Union Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The establishment of the European Union Police Mission (EUPM) has been endorsed by both the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board and the United Nations Security Council (Resolution 1396). The mission is established for a period of 3 years. Its annual budget is 38 million euros, of which 20 million euros come from the community budget.
EUPM began operations on January 1, 2003. It follows on from the U.N.’s IPTF. The mission is part of a broad approach followed by the E.U. and other actors, with activities addressing the whole range of rule of law aspects.
In line with the general objectives of the Dayton-Paris Agreement, the EUPM seeks to establish sustainable policing arrangements under BiH ownership in accordance with best European and international practice. It does so in particular through monitoring, mentoring, and inspection activities. Five hundred police officers from more than 30 countries make up the mission, coming from 15 E.U. member states as well as 18 other countries (EUPM, 2003).
The Kosovo Force’s Multinational Police Specialized Unit
Kosovo lies in southern Serbia and has a mixed population, of whom the majority are ethnic Albanians. Until 1989, the region enjoyed a high degree of autonomy within the former Yugoslavia. In 1989, the Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevich altered the status of the region, removing autonomy and bringing the region under the direct control of Belgrade, the Serbian capital. The Kosovar Albanians strenuously opposed the move.
Military and paramilitary forces from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Kosovo Liberation Army were fighting day and night. Ethnic tensions were at their highest and claimed the lives of many. More than 1,500 Kosovar Albanians were killed. Nearly 1 million people had fled Kosovo to seek refuge.
Under the U.N. Security Council mandate (Resolution 1244 of June 10, 1999) the peace enforcement Kosovo Force (KFOR) was set up. The objectives of KFOR were to establish and maintain a secure environment in Kosovo, including public safety and order; monitor, verify, and when necessary, enforce compliance with the agreements that ended the conflict; and provide assistance to the U.N. Mission in Kosovo (NATO, 2003, 2004).
KFOR has two main components: the military component, consisting of five multinational brigades, and the police component, the Multinational Specialized Unit (MSU). In total, the KFOR troops come from 30 NATO and non-NATO nations.
The MSU is a police force with military status, with an overall police capability. It consists of a regiment of the Italian carabinieri (police), a contingent of the French gendarmerie (militarized police), and a platoon of the Estonian Army.
The MSU has substantial experience in combating organized crime and terrorism. It possesses the human resources and dedicated investigative tools needed to analyze the structure of subversive and criminal organizations. It also provides prevention and repression resources to be used as KFOR assets.
The MSU conducts general patrolling operations to maintain a regular presence within KFOR. Such operations are in support of KFOR routine patrol activity and allow the MSU to interact with the local community while deepening their overall knowledge of evolving criminal and security threats in each area. Each detachment in KFOR has a different strength depending on the public order and security situation of the area.
The primary tasks of the MSU are to maintain a secure environment and establish a presence through patrolling, attend to law enforcement in close cooperation with the U.N. Mission in Kosovo, gather information, police civil disturbances, gather and analyze criminal intelligence on organized crime, conduct antiterrorism and VIP escort operations, and investigate crimes related to military security (Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, 2003; NATO, 2003, n.d.).
The Next Steps
The deployment of the police in peacekeeping missions originally occurred, exclusively, under the auspices of the United Nations and the European Union, and continues to recognize the primacy of the U.N. Security Council for the maintenance of internal security. Increasingly, however, the United Nations calls on regional organizations to take over responsibility for civilian crisis management in trouble spots closest to them. In June 2000, at a meeting of the European Council at Santa Maria da Feira, the member states of the European Union agreed that by 2003 they should be able to provide up to 5,000 police officers for international missions across the range of crisis prevention and crisis management operations. Within this goal, member states also took upon themselves the task of identifying and deploying up to 1,000 police officers as part of a so-called Rapid Reaction Police Force, when the need arises (within 30 days).
The unexpected mass looting in Baghdad, Basra, and other Iraqi towns in April 2003 placed a new and very urgent task on the agenda of the police forces: preparing and setting up new well-armed and specialized antilooting police detachments. According to the Geneva Convention, in wartime the armed forces are responsible for the safety and security of hospitals, museums, banks, and the like in operational areas. The lessons from the recent war in Iraq are that the army alone is not capable of effectively preventing and combating mass looting. It should be supported with well-trained and highly specialized antilooting police units acting, where possible, in cooperation with the local police forces. Until now, police force detachments that participated in war operations were not brought into action until some time had passed since the liberation of towns. However, in Baghdad, organized gangs of looters broke into the National Archaeological Museum, some other museums, libraries, banks, and even some hospitals almost simultaneously with the arrival of U.S. tanks and troops. Thus, in the future, police antilooting detachments should be prepared for action already with forward combat detachments. This is a very new, and not easy, task for the police, which, undoubtedly, must prepare some of its units for such work in the very near future (UNB Saint John Ward Chipman Library, 2002).
The future of international police cooperation can and should be evaluated from the perspective of the assessment of the two supranational law enforcement organizations, Interpol and Europol, which despite their quite impressive geographical mandate remain nonoperational and serve more as clearinghouses for the exchange of information rather than as fully operational entities. To fully assess the potential of those two organizations, we must also look at the hybrid creation, referred to in this chapter as international police task forces, which, at this point, represent the only actively operational solution to law enforcement-related problems around the world.
We have established from the beginning of this chapter that to target, effectively and efficiently, transnational criminal activity, which appears to be on the constant rise, we need to identify operational mechanisms of response. Despite the fact that both Interpol and Europol are not operational in the traditional sense of this word, they can clearly serve as a very important backup system for operational agencies around the world. The key word, however, is can.
At this point, based on the overview of their capabilities and capacities, it is rather obvious that a number of problems emerge as an outcome of such multinational cooperation. First, to borrow from the terminology used in the literature dealing with terrorism, “One person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.” The membership, especially of Interpol, is open to virtually all existing countries, give or take a few. Among those members, one can find many countries that are not on friendly relations with one another on a variety of issues. Sharing information about potential terrorist threats with a country that harbors terrorism might prove to be quite challenging. Sharing information with the police force of a country that is well-known to be infiltrated by organized crime doesn’t seem prudent, either. Finally, making sense of statistical data that are grouped and defined in a somewhat archaic manner won’t contribute to much of an efficient response to the particular crime. For example, for statistical purposes, Interpol still groups murder and attempted murder in the same category.
To conclude, we would like to identify a number of recommendations for the future with regard to international police cooperation. First, the need for an efficient and effective operational force, such as an international police task force, is clearly a priority, especially given the recent developments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Such a task force needs a well-developed support system in the form of valid intelligence, and this could and must be supplied by organizations such as Interpol or Europol. However, the composition of such a task force has to be very carefully defined, and it remains to be seen who could be put in charge of such a decision-making process. Second, the existence of numerous international law enforcement academies, not discussed in this chapter, will further some informal cooperation among law enforcement agencies around the world, and this type of cooperation is frequently more valuable than a reliance on formal entities. Finally, the exchange of police representatives among allied countries such as was established by the New York Police Department after the 9/11 attack will certainly facilitate this formal and informal cooperation.
What we need in the future is some sort of a clearly defined policy with regard to international police cooperation, both on the level of exchange of information and operational assistance. The answer to the question of who will be in charge of this initiative remains open for now.