How does Interpol define ‘political’?

Agim Ceku, a former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army who was attending a conference on demobilizing guerilla movments in Colombia, has been expelled from the country after he was placed on an Interpol “red list” at the request of Serbia: The director of Colombia’s DAS security agency, Felipe Munoz, told the AP that Serbia ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
585999_090507_interpol2.jpg
585999_090507_interpol2.jpg

Agim Ceku, a former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army who was attending a conference on demobilizing guerilla movments in Colombia, has been expelled from the country after he was placed on an Interpol "red list" at the request of Serbia:

The director of Colombia's DAS security agency, Felipe Munoz, told the AP that Serbia sought the expulsion after Ceku's arrival for the conference, which was organized by President Alvaro Uribe's peace commissioner and attended by Uribe himself as well as by Guatemala's president, Alvaro Colom.

The Interpol-issued notices alert member nations that a person is wanted for possible extradition but does not force them to arrest or expel the individual. Munoz said Colombian law compelled the Ceku expulsion.

Agim Ceku, a former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army who was attending a conference on demobilizing guerilla movments in Colombia, has been expelled from the country after he was placed on an Interpol “red list” at the request of Serbia:

The director of Colombia’s DAS security agency, Felipe Munoz, told the AP that Serbia sought the expulsion after Ceku’s arrival for the conference, which was organized by President Alvaro Uribe’s peace commissioner and attended by Uribe himself as well as by Guatemala’s president, Alvaro Colom.

The Interpol-issued notices alert member nations that a person is wanted for possible extradition but does not force them to arrest or expel the individual. Munoz said Colombian law compelled the Ceku expulsion.

During the 1998-99 Kosovo war Ceku was the military head of the ethnic Albanian guerrilla Kosovo Liberation Army.

Ceku says Serbia wanted him expelled because he was the “hero of the conference” and getting too much attention. 

This comes two weeks after Interpol redlisted Venezuelan opposition leader Manuel Rosales who has sought refuge in Peru after being charged with corruption by Hugo Chávez’s government.

To my mind, these two cases raise the question of whether Interpol is allowing itself to be used by governments to crack down on political opponents. Interpol’s constitution states:

It is strictly forbidden for the Organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.

I don’t know enough about Ceku or Rosales to form an opinion on their guilt or innocence, but I think it’s fairly indisputable that both indictments at least have a “political character.” With Chávez requesting that a second political opponent be redlisted, it might be time for the organization to review its procedures.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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