Updated on
May, 27 2024
Anatoliy Yarovyi
Researched by

The Controversy of INTERPOL Green Notices: A Call for Reform

INTERPOL’s issuance of Green Notices has raised significant concerns regarding the presumption of innocence and the principle of non bis in idem (not being tried or punished twice for the same offense). By labeling individuals as “dangerous” even after they have served their sentences, Green Notices perpetuate a form of continuous punishment that contradicts fundamental principles of justice and human rights.

  • Presumption of Innocence: The presumption of innocence is a cornerstone of criminal justice systems worldwide, ensuring that individuals are treated as innocent until proven guilty. Once an individual has served their sentence, they should be considered rehabilitated and not subject to ongoing suspicion or stigmatization.
  • Non Bis in Idem: This principle asserts that no one should be punished more than once for the same crime. By issuing Green Notices that mark individuals as dangerous long after they have completed their sentences, INTERPOL essentially subjects them to a lifelong penalty.

Comparison with National Practices

The American justice system’s practice of maintaining “sex offender registries” exemplifies the broader issue of ongoing stigmatization. These lists, while intended to protect public safety, often result in severe social and economic consequences for individuals who have already paid their debt to society. This approach mirrors the archaic practices depicted in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, where ex-convict Jean Valjean was perpetually marked by his criminal past.

Philosophical Perspective

From a philosophical standpoint, perpetual punishment raises profound ethical questions. Modern democratic societies, founded on the principles of the Rule of Law and human rights, should prioritize rehabilitation and reintegration over indefinite punishment. The practice of continuously marking individuals as dangerous is reminiscent of medieval practices and fundamentally contradicts the notion of justice as fairness.

  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): Article 11 of the UDHR states that everyone charged with a penal offense has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Extending this principle, individuals who have served their sentences should not be presumed to pose a danger without new evidence.
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR): Article 14 of the ICCPR enshrines the right to a fair trial and protection against double jeopardy, reinforcing the idea that individuals should not face additional penalties once they have completed their sentences.

The Need for Reform

Given these considerations, INTERPOL’s RPD (Rules on the Processing of Data) should be critically reviewed and adjusted. Specifically, the criteria for issuing INTERPOL Green Notices must be re-evaluated to ensure they do not violate fundamental human rights principles. Alternatively, the use of Green Notices should be entirely abolished if they cannot be reconciled with these principles.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The continuous punishment of individuals who have served their sentences is not only legally and ethically problematic but also detrimental to the ideals of justice and rehabilitation. INTERPOL must reform its practices to align with contemporary human rights standards, ensuring that once individuals have served their punishment, they are given the opportunity to reintegrate into society without the perpetual shadow of their past. This change is imperative for upholding the integrity of international law enforcement and protecting the fundamental rights of individuals worldwide.

Anatoly Yarovyi
Anatoly Yarovyi
Anatoly Yarovyi is a seasoned and accomplished lawyer with 20 years of professional experience. He now specializes in Interpol and extradition cases, as well as consulting high-profile individuals on matters related to personal and business security, data protection, and freedom of movement.
He has a strong academic background, including a Master of Law from Lviv University (2004) and an LLM from Stanford University (2013).
He successfully represents clients in the European Court of Human Rights and was one of 15 candidates for the position of Judge at the ECHR in 2021.
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