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The speech by Vardan YEGHIAZARYAN, police colonel, head of NCB of INTERPOL in the Republic of Armenia, delivered at the 39th European Regional Conference,  May 26-28, Budva, Montenegro.

 Mr. Chairman, dear colleagues

   First of all I would like to express my gratitude to the authorities of Montenegro for the  warm and special reception and hospitality.

I will briefly  introduce  the 4th annual, already traditional, NCB INTERPOL Heads  meeting of CIS member countries, which took place from 3 to 4 of November, 2009 in Yerevan city,  capital of  Armenia. The participation of 4 states of all 10 CIS member countries in the meeting  is accounted for by the fact that this time, however,  it  coincided with the hard period of global  financial crisis,   though,  from the outset,   all the member countries expressed willingness to  participate.

 In spite of the mentioned fact, the meeting was held, during which a number of core questions on cooperation among NCBs  were discussed trafficking related issues mainly being  emphasized and corresponding resolutions were passed.

The representatives of NCBs of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia as well as those of interested entities  of the  Police of the Republic of Armenia, and international organizations (United Nations Organization, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, International Organization of Migration) spoke at the meeting according to the discussed themes. The representative of INTERPOL General Secretariat (Mr. Prokopchuk) was also present, who was a great support to the organization activities of the meeting  and took an active part in it.

Exchange of ideas  as well as inofficial discussions, conversations, meetings  beyond the conference framework  were held as well. On the bases of meeting results the minutes was drawn up, which has been provided to all of you and you are able to  get acquainted with the details. (It is placed in your drawers). I would like to draw your attention to the 2nd proposal of the mentioned minutes- address to the INTERPOL General Secretariat with the suggestion to process the question about the possibility of introducing into the practical activity of the Organization a special circular notice or creating a specialized database on victims of trafficking. The given proposal was made by our colleague from the General Department of Combat against Organized Crime. The General Secretariat was informed about the proposal, however their position is not clear yet. .

The participants and the guests were given the opportunity to get acquainted with the activities  carried out by the police services and law enforcement of the Republic of Armenia, visit NCB of INTERPOL in Armenia,  come to better know our country and go sightseeing. The meeting roused a positive response among   law enforcement and public circles being widely elucidated by the mass media and served as   stimulus in a sense of increasing   the reputation, role and significance of  INTERPOL in our republic and in the region as well.

 Thank you for your attention.

PRESETNTATION

 

39th European Regional Conference
Opening remarks by Ronald K. Noble INTERPOL Secretary General
27 May 2010, Budva, Montenegro
 Printable version

INTERPOL President Mr Khoo Boon Hui
INTERPOL Vice-President for Europe, Dr Jürgen Stock,
INTERPOL Executive Committee members,
Heads of delegations,
Heads of NCBs
Dear staff members from IPSG Lyon
Esteemed Colleagues
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning,

I want to thank our extraordinary host of this 39th European Conference, my friend Veselin VELJOVIC, Director of Police of Montenegro for his warm welcome and for having organized this conference with so much professionalism.

I cannot think of a more beautiful venue for us to meet in this country than this beautiful Mediterranean town, whose roots plunge deep into history and even ancient mythology.

I must say that I am feeling now the same family-like warmth and kindness that I felt when I first visited Montenegro, back in August 2006. It was just a few months after the country had declared its independence. I had been invited here by Veselin VELJOVIC, Director of Police of Montenegro, a person whom I feel privileged to call a friend.

As you know, Montenegro became an INTERPOL member country in September 2006. Looking back at the four years that have gone by since then, I am amazed to see how this young country — which also happens to be one of INTERPOL’s youngest member countries — has so quickly become a model of international police co-operation.

And the Montenegrin police have installed INTERPOL’s MIND solution at 16 border points across the country to enable its border officers to instantly check the travel documents of incoming travellers against INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database.

It is therefore no surprise that via INTERPOL Montenegro is both helping to keep its citizens safer than they otherwise would be and is helping you and even countries outside the European Region to better investigate cases and apprehend wanted persons.

So, I use the success of Montenegro not to highlight the accomplishments of one country, but to highlight the fact that INTERPOL’s model works for the benefit of all countries.  The success of any one country in preventing crime, in investigating crime and in apprehending fugitives, enhances the collective success and security of all. Put another way, the safer and more secure that your neighbour is, the better chance your country and citizens have to be safe and secure.

At the Conference of the Association of Caribbean Chiefs of Police from which I have just come, I commended the Chiefs of Police for their pioneering vision.  The Caribbean was the first and remains the only region in the world where MIND and FIND have been integrated into the daily screening of passports and visitors to Caricom countries.  They went from screening INTERPOL’s databases 400 times per year to 240,000 in the first four months following the implementation of MIND and FIND.  In so doing, they helped to secure their countries; their region and they helped you, the European Region, better solve crime and locate wanted persons.

The Caribbean region’s police chiefs collectively understand that without security they could not count on as much foreign investment or tourism.  Without the foreign investment and tourism, their countries’ future would not be as secure.

Their concern for security is not unlike the concern that this region’s countries have for security.  Indeed, with experience police leaders in each and every INTERPOL region learn that the more secure that their country is physically and economically, and the more securely that the rule of law and respect for human dignity are embedded into the country’s foundation, then the greater potential their countries have for a safe and secure environment in which all citizens can prosper and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

But, despite my speaking to the European Regional meeting of INTERPOL this morning, I have learned one important lesson as your Secretary General — regional borders are yesterday’s borders.  Let me repeat:  Regional borders are yesterday’s borders!

I want to focus on that theme during my remarks this morning.

I will use environmental scanning to reinforce this point.

As you know, we have been undergoing one of the most thorough strategic planning reviews in INTERPOL’s history, and you already have heard a presentation from Zack Zaccardelli on this topic yesterday.

It is an ambitious review whose outcome will have a profound impact on the way that INTERPOL looks at itself and the way that we do our business.

One essential element to any strategic planning review is to conduct an environmental scan.  The ways in which these scans occur can be focused on the goods and services that the scanning entity (in this case INTERPOL) is concerned about delivering or it can be much broader in scope.

I wish to begin much broader in scope because doing so will be indispensible to ‘Meeting the Challenges of our Time’.

Any police body at the national level must be concerned with the possibility that its citizens will be confronted with a natural disaster at home or abroad.  At the national level, each of you has a fairly good idea of what type of disaster might affect you or your citizens.  But as soon as I speak about the issue globally, you have very little idea of what natural disaster might confront you or your citizens.

Let me give you some examples:

If I were to ask you how many earthquakes have occurred around the world in the last 72 hours, what would your answer be?

Just in the last 72 hours, there have been almost 100 earthquakes detected around the world.

You are thinking that these were probably small earthquakes.  In fact 40 or so of them registered above 4.5 on the Richter scale.

It would be much easier however for you to remember the earthquakes among these that were historic.

Chile was hit by one of the top ten earthquakes in all of history in terms of Richter scale measurements.  On 27 February 2010, it was struck by an earthquake that measured 8.8.

This year was also tragically historic when the 5th deadliest earthquake in history (7.0) claimed over 250,000 lives in Haiti on 5 January 2010.

The impact of these earthquakes was far beyond their regions, and they definitely had an impact on INTERPOL’s European Region.  Your borders did not make you immune or even protect you.

A natural disaster need not even take many lives to have an impact beyond its region.

We learned this lesson again this year with the eruption of the volcano beneath the Eyjafjallajökull glacier in Iceland.  It caused not only an estimated EUR 1.7 billion in airline losses and a disruption of global supply chains in ways that will take months if not years to understand.  The Icelandic ash cloud also virtually shut down INTERPOL General Secretariat Lyon’s ability to respond to the needs of our member countries both inside and outside of Europe.  I know the same was true for many of the police bodies of the European member countries with us here today.

Accidents:

In addition to being required to deal with any natural disaster at the national level, police bodies need to be prepared for any accident that might occur.  But, in today’s globalized world with increased international travel, even an accident on your soil can have implications beyond your country and region.

Again, if I were to ask you about the number of major plane crashes that occurred in the last 12 months on your soil or that involved your citizens, you could probably easily give me the answer.  But, if I asked you how many major plane crashes occurred around the world and potentially affecting both INTERPOL and the citizens of any of its 188 member countries, you probably would find it difficult to answer.

Let me go over just those plane crashes in the last 12 months considered major; that is where scores of lives were lost.

  1. 1 June 2009 Air France Plane crashed in the Atlantic Ocean off of the coast of Brazil (more than 220),
  2. 30 June 2009 Yemenia Airlines near the Comoros Islands (more than 150),
  3. 15 July 2009 Caspian Airlines in Iran (more than 170),
  4. 25 January 2010 Ethiopian Airlines, near Beirut ( 90 persons);
  5. 10 April 2010 Polish Air Force plane carrying the Poland’s President crashed near Smolensk Russia (more than 90 persons);
  6. 12 May 2010 Afriqiyah Airlines near Tripoli (more than 100 persons);
  7. 22 May 2010 Air India Express near Mangalore, India less than a week ago (more than 100 persons)

Although INTERPOL’s assistance was offered in all of those tragic plane crashes only Brazil asked for our assistance with regard to the Air France crash.  Imagine if we had been asked to assist in the three plane crashes in Russia, Libya and India that occurred in the last two months.

What impact would that have had on INTERPOL General Secretariat, but also on you our European member countries when we asked you for help?  Our strategic planning has to consider these possibilities.

Let me now turn the question to you.  How much planning do you do at the national level for natural disasters affecting your citizens outside your borders and/or where you will be called upon to help because the country hit can’t handle the problem alone?

Here again, I submit that regional borders are yesterday’s borders

Let me now include the reason that brings us together.  Our concern is about crimes that affect your countries and your region.

Here again I would like to give you examples to show that Europe’s interest lies beyond Europe, and it needs INTERPOL to help keep Europe and its interests safer than they would otherwise be.

Examples:

Take INTERPOL’s involvement in the West African Coast Initiative.

We have known for some time now that cocaine traffickers increasingly take advantage of the lack of police infrastructures in some West African countries using them as transit points to Europe from South America. INTERPOL has engaged in a new partnership with the United Nations and the Economic Community of West African States in this initiative to confront this threat more effectively.

INTERPOL’s work in West Africa is a very concrete example of how INTERPOL, by helping curb the flow of cocaine towards Europe, will allow police in your region to save precious resources and channel them elsewhere.

Another example, is the work that INTERPOL is doing to fight Intellectual Property Crime globally and Medical Product Counterfeiting alongside the WHO with our IMPACT Project.  These are two crime areas that greatly affect European interests, but where the sources of the crime problem tend frequently to be outside of Europe.  Through experience, we have learned that these two crime problems need to be considered and addressed separately because the interested communities inside and outside of Europe view the issues so differently.

Another example is INTERPOL’s efforts in addressing the threat posed by maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia.

INTERPOL is actively working to develop information sharing on piracy in the region. We created a special office in the Kenyan port of Mombasa to collect information first-hand following the capture of pirates and we take part in several international concerted efforts to tackle this threat. Very recently, our co-operation with the government of the Seychelles led to their handing to INTERPOL all piracy-related investigative files.  This was an extraordinary accomplishment for both European and non-European member countries.

I am proud to say we also established a fruitful partnership with Europol in this area.  While INTERPOL has a global network on the field and a secure global communications system, Europol has remarkable analytical capabilities. So it is very natural that we should combine our respective strengths — INTERPOL will work at collecting and sharing information coming from non-EU member countries like the Seychelles, and Europol will work on the analysis of this data.

I wish to publicly thank Europol Director Rob Wainright and his Europol colleagues for their fine support and cooperation in this area.

I have consciously avoided the other types of environmental scanning that INTERPOL also undertakes on a regular basis.

These involve conflicts between our member countries that could have profound effects on the way that we do business.  They also involve Security Council sanctions against our member countries as well as indictments issued by the International Criminal Court against a Head of Government of one of our member countries. 

Way Forward:

In conclusion, I have intentionally given a non-traditional speech to this regional conference because I believe that more and more INTERPOL’s regions are going to be affected by what happens outside the region or by threats coming from outside the region.  Our concept of regional borders as barriers to crime or protecting us from crime is already a concept for yesterday.

The question for INTERPOL and the European Region will be how do we meet the challenges of our time when they coincide with an economic crisis confronting much of the world?

As the global financial crisis limits your resources and as you are constantly asked to do more with less, INTERPOL has committed itself to helping you more without asking you to pay more.

A soon-to-be-published study by three economics professors and paid for by a grant from the US’s Department of Homeland Security concludes that “INTERPOL gets about $200 in gain for every $1 it spends on the fight against terrorism.”

Moreover, shortly after the economic crisis hit the world, we decided to formalize our strategic planning functions and initiate a process through which INTERPOL would reflect on its strategic priorities and on the short-, medium- and long-term objectives and initiatives the Organization should strive to achieve to meet those strategic priorities.

We did this because we understood that, in times of financial constraint, we need to enhance our ability to take the right strategic decisions at the right time, focus our resources on what really matters to you, and deliver our services to you in the most cost-effective way.

Starting from this year, we will be taking gradual steps to ensure greater transparency and alignment between the Organization’s strategic priorities and objectives, and the resources planned in our budget.

We also have taken steps to examine our Red Notices to ensure that they are of the best value to our member countries.

We have persuaded the Government of Singapore to invest substantial resources to construct a state of the art INTERPOL Global Complex in Singapore.  We are committed to persuading the Executive Committee and General Assembly that our future and your future will depend on our having a global footprint in Southeast Asia.  We are confident that we can achieve this goal without raising dues.

We also have successfully tested our INTERPOL e-Travel and Identity Card and hope to roll it out for use during the upcoming General Assembly.

Finally, out of respect for the financial crisis affecting so many of our member countries at this time, we will not propose an increase of dues for 2011.  I also will propose that the Executive Committee endorse a pay freeze for all INTERPOL staff in 2011.

Yet, despite these financial constraints, we will not stop being visionaries. We will continue developing new ways to help you fight transnational crime and terrorism. And we are looking at the world as it evolves before our eyes, to develop with you and with our member countries from Asia, Africa and the Americas, the cooperation strategies that will ensure our common success for the years ahead.

We will work with your and other regions, but I hope that you will agree that our work can never be constrained by or confined to any one region.

I wish you a very good conference.

High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Transnational Organized Crime
Speech by Ronald K. Noble INTERPOL Secretary General
17 June 2010, UN Headquarters, New York, United States
 Printable version

 

Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here today, representing INTERPOL on this event as we approach the 10th Anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols.

I am equally happy to be part of such a distinguished panel on this occasion, representing a wide spectrum of key players in international efforts against organized crime.

Let me first thank the governments of Italy and Mexico and UNODC for organizing this meeting.

In 2000, the United Nations lived up once again to its high purpose.

As stated in Article 1 of its Charter, signed 65 years ago this month, it acted as “a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations, in the attainment” of a pivotal common objective...

….that of countering transnational organized crime, in all its forms, across borders, together, as one united front.

And it is the anatomy of the threat itself, which makes it a formidable global challenge.

We have seen transnational organized crime:

  weaken state structures by fueling instability and corruption;

  hide behind a mask of legitimacy, penetrating into financial markets;

  forge deadly alliances based on profit, as seen with terrorist groups;

  shift priorities towards highly lucrative and low-risk activities, such as counterfeit medical products.

We have seen all this – irrespective of ideology, the well-being of our co-citizens, and certainly regardless of national and regional borders.

This is how the world was made a single, seamless market for organized crime groups to seek illicit profit.

And it is a world that has evolved dramatically since 2000, in the opportunities it provides to transnational organized crime.

Ten years after Palermo, technology has made anonymity, global reach and unprecedented ease of action across borders a reality for criminals. 

Criminal networks are becoming less tangible, but certainly not less lethal in their ability to strike.

In a world where 2 billion individuals will be soon able to access the Internet, victims and perpetrators are more and more often located on different continents. 

Illicit proceeds can be acquired through fraud, laundered and reinvested literally at the click of a mouse or, as mobile banking users grow exponentially, through a simple text message sent anywhere in the world.

Organized crime is acting: trafficking is occurring as we speak, as almost 2.5 billion passengers and 43 million freight tons are traveling by air every year.

What does this really mean for our fight?

This world calls on those who are still to ratify or accede to the Convention and its Protocols to do so and to do so as rapidly as possible … for a simple reason.

It will be the implementation of the Palermo Convention that will determine whether the international community has lived up to its commitments.

The final judgment of history on the success of this instrument – its true, measurable success – will depend on the results achieved every day in the field.

Results such as the identification and arrest of those belonging or suspected to belong to organized crime whenever they try to cross a border or commit a crime abroad.

Or results like stemming the flow of illegal proceeds likely to continue to play a major role in the years to come – such as those identified by the additional Protocols to the Palermo Convention.

But how to achieve this, when the world that in 2000 had enjoyed 4 percent average economic growth saw global GDP decline by 2.2 percent in 2009? And while in the same year, estimates of illicit proceeds from transnational crime ranged between 1 and 7 trillion US dollars?

It’s straightforward. By using the extraordinary technological developments that have occurred since 2000 and that have transformed the way INTERPOL’s member countries cooperate using our network to add value to our collective fight against transnational organized crime.

INTERPOL stands ready to continue to work closely with all Parties involved to facilitate the implementation of the Palermo Convention and its Protocols.

INTERPOL’s model is very straightforward: we want the right police information to be received by the right law enforcement official at the right time, so that key opportunities against transnational crime are not missed.

And what greater opportunity than accessing information shared by the rest of the world on convicted or suspected organized crime members?

This year alone, INTERPOL member countries obtained more than 70,000 positive hits from nominal database searches.

Each of these hits represents potential key information acquired by a police officer on an individual of interest to him or her.

What if that information were the affiliation to a major foreign organized crime group by a passenger undergoing a random check while entering the country?

What if a fingerprint or DNA profile check against INTERPOL databases had determined that what appeared to be an isolated property crime was actually part of a well-organized transnational criminal strategy?

The marginal cost of sharing a piece of information is minimal.

But its global marginal value – in today’s world – is enormous.

This is especially true when it comes to the offences identified by the Additional Protocols of the Palermo Convention.

Trafficking in persons, migrant smuggling and trafficking in arms enjoy traditionally rigid and growing demand, making them key sources for support to organized crime.

The figures are staggering.

More than 12 million victims of trafficking in persons were estimated in the world in 2009.

Small arms alone were responsible for an estimated 60 to 90 percent of direct conflict deaths and tens of thousands victims outside of war zones.

In addition, at a time of global crisis, the pool of migrants to be tapped by organized crime is expected to rise substantially over the next few years.

All these crimes rely heavily on borders as shields against detection and prosecution. This may explain, then, why only 0.4 percent of trafficking victims were identified over the last year, despite numbering in the millions.  

And once again, international information-sharing and constant law enforcement communication are the most effective – and efficient – strategy to turn borders from opportunities into obstacles to organized crime.

It was rapid and secure communication that last week allowed police from Colombia, the United States, the United Arab Emirates and South Africa to work together through INTERPOL to locate – across three continents and in less than 18 hours – a young Colombian national feared to be a victim of traffickers in persons.

And it is information-sharing that provides the foundation of INTERPOL’s stolen and lost travel documents database, which serves daily the principles mentioned in Articles 11-13 of the Protocols on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants.

Just last January, for instance, thanks to information inserted by Sweden into the database, an individual wanted by the Netherlands for trafficking in persons and the group he led were prevented from transiting illegally through Trinidad and Tobago using stolen Swedish passports. 

What I just described are achievable steps through which the principles of the Palermo Convention can be successfully implemented and turned into tangible results in the field, as demanded by our citizens.

I say this, as the head of an organization that witnesses daily the challenges faced by those brave men and women of law enforcement fighting organized crime in the streets of the world.

Not taking full advantage of what innovation has provided us and which is today within our reach would seriously jeopardize our chances of success tomorrow.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Earlier this year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “Member States have united to fight pandemics, poverty, climate change and terrorism. We can and must do the same to counter organized crime. We have a shared responsibility to act.”

And I can assure all of you that INTERPOL will play an active role in this regard as we move forward together.

Thank you.

THE  79-th SESSION OF INTERPOL GENERAL ASSEMBLY WILL TAKE PLACE IN DOHA (KATAR) IN 2010 FROM NOVEMBER 8-11.