‘BEST PRACTICES’ IN COMBATTING TERRORISM
In order to successfully fight terrorism, and other transnational crimes, organizations need to have information, and they need to share it, in the most timely and effective manner possible. Committed to this view, Interpol provides the tools and services necessary to facilitate such exchanges. In order to affect these channels of communication, Interpol provides three „core
services‟ or functions. These services are, unto themselves, “best practices”:
1) Secure Global Police Communications Services
2) Operational Data Services and Databases for Police
3) Operational Police Support Services
With „communication‟ as the fundamental condition for successful international cooperation, both within the international law enforcement community and beyond, Interpol encourages its member countries to take advantage of every opportunity to utilize as well as contribute to these services, to include use of Interpol‟s numerous, varied and extensive databases.
Effective communication between Interpol member countries not only facilitates but greatly enhances the successful collaborative efforts of law enforcement and other local, regional and international organizations in fighting terrorism and other crimes, world-wide.
Interpol‟s „best practices‟, standards, and guidelines are detailed herein, along with web-site links to additional information concerning Interpol‟s specific services, databases, and
‘BEST PRACTICES’ IN COMBATTING TERRORISM
Interpol submits this report in response to the United Nations Security Council (Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate) request for ‘Best Practices’, measures, and guidelines in
the universal fight against terrorism.
In its resolution 1373 (2001) of 28 September 2001, the Security Council, inter alia, established directives for Member States to “…..take the necessary steps to prevent the
commission of terrorist acts…”, and further, inter alia, to ”….call on States to work together
urgently to prevent and suppress terrorist acts….”.
Interpol, in recognizing the need for States to complement international cooperation by taking additional measures to prevent and suppress terrorism, submits to the UN Security Council its „best practices‟ in combating terrorism, particularly in reference to its three „core services‟.
These services or functions, as provided by Interpol, correspond and are extended to not only the fight against terrorism, but to combating all areas of crime, transnationally.
For the purpose of this document, and in keeping with the requirements of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED), a „best practice‟- in the broad sense- can be
defined as a technique, activity, strategy, methodology, or approach that has been shown, through application and evaluation, to be effective and efficient in achieving a desired result.
In more specific terms, Interpol believes that standards, guidelines, recommendations, and tools which Interpol uses and provides to the international law enforcement community, such as its databases and „I-24/7‟ secure global police communications network, could be included under the umbrella of „best practices‟. Interpol‟s range of databases alone covers key
information such as names of criminals and suspected individuals, search requests for wanted persons, fingerprints, photographs, DNA profiles, stolen vehicles, stolen and lost travel documents, and illicit weapons relating to criminal cases. Before describing its best practices in detail, however, it is important to ‟introduce‟ Interpol.
Created in 1923, Interpol is the world‟s largest international police organization. To-
date, Interpol has 186 member countries. Its headquarters, the „General Secretariat‟, is located
in Lyon, France. Interpol‟s Constitution (Article 32) requires each member country to
appoint a body to operate as a national focal point for international law enforcement
cooperation within the Interpol framework. This appointed body is called a National Central Bureau, or „NCB‟.
In furtherance of increasing communications and cooperation within the international law enforcement community, each Interpol member country maintains a National Central Bureau (NCB). The NCB, staffed by highly trained law enforcement officers, is the designated contact point for the Interpol General Secretariat and other member countries requiring assistance with transnational investigations and the location and apprehension of fugitives. The NCB is also the national contact point for international enquiries. By virtue of an NCB, communication can be exchanged, and service standards can be followed in order to set forth „best practices‟. Effective communication between NCBs not only facilitates but
greatly enhances the successful collaborative efforts of law enforcement in fighting terrorism and all other types of transnational crime.
? Hyperlink to NCBs: http://www.interpol.int/Public/Region/Default.asp
Interpol’s Three Core Functions
The mandate and primary function of Interpol is to support the police services of its member countries in their efforts to prevent crime and conduct criminal investigations as efficiently and effectively as possible. Thus, together with the NCBs, Interpol facilitates cross border police cooperation and supports and assists all organizations, authorities and services whose mission is to prevent or combat crime.
In order to achieve these aims, Interpol conducts all of its activities within the framework of the following three ‘core services‟ or „functions‟:
1) Secure Global Police Communications Services
2) Operational Data Services and Databases for Police
3) Operational Police Support Services
The first of these services, Secure Global Police Communications Services 1. is a fundamental condition for successful international police cooperation. It is essential for police forces to be able to communicate with each other, worldwide, in „real
time‟, and in a secure way. Realizing the dire need for improved means of communication in today‟s highly technical world, Interpol subsequently designed and implemented a state-of-
the-art global communications system for the law enforcement community, called “I-24/7”.
“I” stands for Interpol; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The I-24/7 system was created in January 2003, and is an enhanced communication service and an innovative, user-friendly tool for international law enforcement. Information about suspected individuals and groups and their activities is exchanged between Interpol‟s
member countries and its General Secretariat in a fast, reliable and secure manner. I-24/7
provides a creative, modern and sophisticated way to make international law enforcement efforts more effective, and easier to perform. This type of system and exchange of information is absolutely essential in combating terrorism and other types of transnational crime.
The I-24/7 „dashboard‟ is a unique gateway that provides access to Interpol databases and contains a wealth of expert information on a variety of crime issues. This makes I-24/7 an indispensable tool, not only for the NCBs, but also for control, investigative and analytical units within national police forces. Further, through Interpol‟s encouragement, many NCBs
are now granting I-24/7 access to authorized law enforcement entities outside itself, such as border control units and customs officials. Interpol is and remains available to lend technical assistance and support to further extending its 1-24/7 systems to additional authorized law-enforcement organizations.
As of October, 2006, Interpol‟s I-24/7 system is connected to and utilized by 186 countries,
with this number likely to increase.
? Hyperlink to I-24/7: http://www.interpol.int/Public/NCB/i247/default.asp
Once police have the capability to communicate internationally, they need 2. access to information to either assist in their investigations or to take necessary steps to prevent crime. Thus, Interpol provides its second core service- Operational Data Services
and Databases for Police.
In fighting transnational crime, international police cooperation “lives” on information. This means that without gathering and sharing information that is timely, accurate, relevant and complete, cooperation is limited, if not impossible. Interpol has, therefore, developed a broad range of global databases, incorporating key information such as names of criminals and suspected individuals, fingerprints, photographs, DNA profiles, requests for wanted persons, lost and stolen travel documents, stolen vehicles, and weapons related to criminal cases.
The information contained in these databases can be critical to assisting member countries in the event of terrorist incidents or related investigations. Analysis of the information associated with these databases is also extremely beneficial to achieving positive results in fighting and investigating terrorism cases, particularly concerning making positive identifications. Interpol‟s databases include:
a) ASF Stolen/Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) Database
Bearing in mind that terrorists and other serious criminals regularly use false documents to travel, Interpol established its Stolen/Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database in 2002. This database has subsequently proven itself an effective tool for intercepting such individuals when attempting to cross borders. Since its creation, and across crime areas, the database has helped field officers with innumerable cases of individuals using fraudulent travel documents. In several cases where the documents were identified as lost or stolen, they were ultimately linked to high-profile cases involving suspected terrorists and war criminals.
As of August 2006, this database contains almost 12 million records, coming from nearly 110 member countries. However, as the estimated number of stolen and lost travel documents in circulation exceeds this 12 million, there is an ongoing need for member countries to continually populate the database to increase its effectiveness. The UN Security Council also recognized the importance of this informational tool in its Resolution No. 1617 (2005) and encouraged member countries to share information on those documents with other member states through the Interpol database. Use of the database is also endorsed by the G8, European Union, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, International Civil Aviation Organization and members of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.
In December 2005, Switzerland became the first country to use an integrated solution developed by Interpol to expand access to the database to some 22,000 federal agents at border control points, customs and immigration offices, and embassies, enabling police to verify instantly whether a travel document is stolen. Interpol further encourages all of its member countries to expand access to the database beyond its NCBs to officers at crucial locations such as airports and border crossings.
b) Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS)
Recognizing the increasing need for countries to exchange information on fingerprints for investigative purposes such as those relating to terrorism, and individuals potentially associated therewith, Interpol recommends amongst its Best Practices the implementation and utilization of its Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), to include its established standards.
Through the Interpol AFIS Expert Working Group (IAEWG), Interpol promotes the use of standards for the capture, storage, and transmission of fingerprints, electronically. The IAEWG‟s focus is to provide general guidance to countries/organizations acquiring,
developing, integrating, and operating national AFIS systems. The IAEWG actively promotes implementable approaches to the international electronic exchange of fingerprint images and data. Recognizing that the technical capabilities of various countries differ greatly, Interpol also facilitates advising countries in the sometimes difficult process of acquiring and implementing national AFIS standards and systems.
It is important to emphasize the significance and critical need for countries to submit fingerprints to Interpol in furtherance of populating the AFIS system. With the contribution of such singular identifying data, law enforcement organizations can help make „links‟ in
investigations and achieve successes in combating criminal activities.
? Hyperlink to AFIS http://www.interpol.int/Public/Forensic/Fingerprints/Default.asp
In recognizing the ever-increasing value of DNA and DNA profiling, Interpol established an Interpol DNA Unit in 1998. In so doing, Interpol has been able to foster and facilitate the advancement of international law enforcement cooperation through the use of DNA in criminal cases world-wide, as well as in terrorism cases. As such, the objective of the Interpol DNA unit is to ultimately provide strategic and technical support to enhance member
states' DNA profiling capacity, and promote its widespread use in the international law enforcement environment.
In order to assist member states and encourage DNA profile comparison across international borders, the DNA Unit created and developed a DNA Database together with the Interpol DNA Monitoring Expert Group.
1) Interpol DNA Monitoring Expert Group
The external Interpol DNA Monitoring Expert Group (MEG) is the main source of reference for the Interpol DNA Unit. The MEG acts as an advisory board and provides expert guidance and direction for Interpol DNA policies and projects. The MEG members consist of 10-12 senior experts in the fields of forensic science and law enforcement who are drawn from member states across Interpol‟s five regions. The MEG examines the contemporary field applications of DNA profiling as an investigative tool and makes recommendations on the use of DNA in criminal investigations with a view to promoting the international use of this technique, particularly as terrorism incidents are occurring world-wide
2) Interpol DNA Database
The Interpol DNA Database introduces a data matching system with the capacity to connect its international profile matching system to all member states using DNA profiling in law enforcement . DNA profiles can be stored and searched across international borders using the Interpol Standard Set of Loci (ISSOL). In compliance with Interpol's regionalization policy, the Interpol DNA Unit provides regional support to Member States to consolidate „best
practices‟ with the ultimate goal of increasing member state involvement in the international transfer of DNA profiles.
As with Interpol‟s fingerprint database, it is important to recognize and emphasize the
significance and ongoing need for countries to contribute to and populate this system. The value of DNA as a unique and singular identification tool in investigations is undeniable. ? Hyperlink to DNA: http://www.interpol.int/Public/Forensic/DNA/Default.asp
d) Stolen Vehicle Database
The Interpol General Secretariat developed the Automated Search Facility-Stolen Motor Vehicle (ASF-SMV) database to support police in member countries in the fight against international vehicle theft and trafficking.
At the end of 2005, the database held more than 3 million records of reported stolen motor vehicles. Close to 125 countries use the database regularly. Of these, more than 95 countries have shared their national stolen vehicle database records with Interpol. Close to 18,000
. motor vehicles were discovered worldwide in 2005 through the ASF-SMV databaseAt the international level, the General Secretariat has been organizing and chairing several working groups which meet on a regular basis, and developing numerous projects to address the issue.
? Hyperlink to Stolen Vehicles Database:
e) Interpol Weapons electronic Tracing System (IWeTS)
IWeTS () is an Interpol tool [in development] for identifying and tracing illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW). This tracing system, when combined with Interpol‟s
communication system- I-24/7, will give Member States the capabilities to trace illicit firearms that are seized through law enforcement investigations and activities in their countries. The value of such a system for law enforcement is that it will make it easier to initiate the trace of a specific weapon. Further, this database can enhance investigations relating to criminal and terrorism matters at both national and international levels. Currently, Interpol is working with ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) to document U.S.-registered weapons, with plans to eventually include weapons registered throughout the world, and traceable from point of recovery back to point of origin. Such information can be critical to furthering terrorism investigations by helping identify an individual or country likely associated with a specific weapon or explosive device used in a terrorist act.
? Hyperlink to IWETS: http://www.interpol.int/Public/Weapons/default.asp
In addition to these databases, Interpol also coordinates the circulation of alerts and warnings by means of specific tools, such as its color-coded international „Notices System‟.
Interpol Notices System
The use of the „Notices System‟ is a significant Interpol information tool, and its use is key for successful international police cooperation. Notices help inform member countries of critical crime-related information, such as the movements of known international criminals who are either subject to arrest and extradition, or suspected of criminal involvement. This tool is, in itself, an Interpol „best practice‟.
Interpol‟s Notices are distributed electronically by Interpol headquarters to the member countries, which normally include this information in their national databases or „lookout‟ systems in order to make the information available to police services at the local level- such as at border-control checkpoints. For „wanted‟ or „missing‟ persons, they contain identity
details, physical descriptions and where possible, the photograph and fingerprints of the individual concerned. The information pertains to individuals who are wanted for serious crimes, who are considered to be missing, or whose bodies are unidentified.
Interpol‟s Notices System is also a relevant tool in fighting terrorism, as it is used as an advisory mechanism to warn of various dangerous persons alleged to be involved in terrorist activities, as well as advise of dangerous devices and/or materials that can be used to commit actual acts of terrorism. Certain notices also provide details about possible threats and criminals‟ modus operandi.
The following Notices are most valuable in combating terrorism:
? Red Notice- Used when seeking the arrest of a wanted person, and
with a view to extradition. Depending upon the country involved, the
Red Notice may serve as a provisional arrest warrant.
? Blue Notice- Used to collect additional information about a person‟s location,
identity or illegal activities in relation to a criminal matter. In terms of a
terrorism matter, this notice enhances the chances for better
identification of a terrorism suspect.
? Green Notice- Used to provide warnings and criminal intelligence
about persons who have committed criminal offenses, and are likely to
repeat these crimes in other countries. They are, in essence, a form of
„alert‟ signal for calling attention to criminals.
? Orange Notice- Used to warn police, related security entities, and other international
organizations of possible threats from hidden weapons, parcel bombs,
and other dangerous items or materials, such as those which can be
used in a terrorist attack.
? Hyperlink to Interpol International Notices:
? Interpol-UN Special Notice
In 2005, upon the request of the United Nations Security Council, and in support of its work in the fight against terrorism, Interpol created the „Interpol-United Nations Security Council
Special Notice‟. This notice is specifically issued for individuals associated with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, as listed by the 1267 Committee, which has designated them subject to
sanctions through the freezing of assets, travel bans and arms embargoes. The notice has two functions: First, it alerts law enforcement officers at the local, operational level of those who are the subject of UN anti-terrorism sanctions; Second, it constitutes a request to each law enforcement authority to co-operate with Interpol and the UN by undertaking the actions specified in the notice against the person concerned. Via this Special Notice, details of individuals on the UN Al- Qaeda/Taliban Committee List and subject to anti-terrorism sanctions are circulated to police departments around the globe. As of October 2006, Interpol
published 263 Interpol-UN Special Notices.
In addition to Special Notices for individuals, Interpol is considering similar notifications for „entities‟ - for those which are alleged to be associated with terrorism and are listed by the Security Council‟s 1267 Committee as well. The main purpose for these Notices will be to serve as informational tools for law enforcement and other responsible agencies world-wide, advising them that the entities are subject to certain UN sanctions. The Notices will also provide law-enforcement with sufficient or additional information to enable them to make operational decisions, conduct inquiries, and /or carry out investigations in compliance with national legislation.
? Hyperlink to Interpol-UN Security Council Special Notice:
Interpol’s third core service is Operational Police Support Services. 3. Simply put, this means making available Interpol‟s know-how, expertise, best practices,
and specialized training, to all authorities, services and organizations world-wide, whose mission is to prevent, detect and suppress crime. Through the extension of such services, Interpol helps enhance the role of NCBs and regional offices and thus increases Interpol‟s
responsiveness to their needs. This involves the development of emergency support and operational activities based on the organization‟s priority crime areas- terrorism and public
safety- as well as drugs and organized crime, fugitives, human trafficking, and financial and high-tech crime. Support Services also include the collection, analysis and evaluation of information which Interpol‟s headquarters receives from its member countries.
Upon request, Interpol further extends support to its member countries by sending police officers with special law enforcement expertise to investigation sites. For example, after various terrorist attacks worldwide, Interpol assisted national law enforcement entities by facilitating- on-site- the exchange of information at international levels particular to individuals and groups alleged to have been involved in the attacks.
Interpol‟s broad range of „supporting services‟ includes the following:
a) The Fusion Task Force
In order to assist member countries in terrorism-related investigations at the international level, Interpol created the Fusion Task Force (FTF). Established in September 2002, the FTF has evolved into a significant, vital, specialized and multi-disciplinary entity for assisting member countries in their terrorism-related investigations. The primary objective of the FTF is to identify members of criminal groups involved in international terrorist activity through the establishment of a network of law enforcement contact officers. The Task Force has put into place regionally focused projects which are designed to identify active terrorist groups and their membership in specific regions. The Task Force also solicits, collects, and shares information and intelligence, provides analytical support, and enhances the capacity of member countries to address the threats of terrorism and organized crime. The Task Force maintains a dedicated global database of information on terrorist groups, organizations and individuals. The FTF database contains (as of August 2006) names and information on approximately 10,000 suspected terrorists.
Particular to terrorism cases, Interpol also coordinates the circulation of alerts and warnings for terrorists, dangerous criminals and weapons-threats to police. In order to help member countries report terrorist activity, Interpol has issued practical guidelines on the type of information required. Member countries are also encouraged to report on other crimes which may be linked to terrorism, such as suspicious financial transactions, weapons trafficking, money laundering, falsified travel and identity documents, and seizures of nuclear, chemical and biological materials.
The FTF also assumes the important role of developing „capacity‟ in various areas where there are deficiencies in order to improve and expand its role in assisting with the targeting and dismantling of criminal and terrorist organizations
? Hyperlink to FTF: http://www.interpol.int/Public/FusionTaskForce/default.asp
b) Interpol Money Laundering Automated Search System (IMLASS)
The financing of terrorism-related activities continues to be an area of imminent and increasing concern in combating terrorism. The tracking of suspicious money transactions in particular, has been a high priority for many countries for several years. In more developed countries Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) have implemented programs which have been successful in monitoring and tracking suspicious money transactions at the national level. However, there is no central location for these transactions to be reported or linked internationally. Interpol recognized this deficiency and, consequently, is currently in the process of implementing the Interpol Money Laundering Automated Search System (IMLASS), thereby creating the first global central location where money laundering transactions can be reported and linked to transactions in other countries. This system will not only allow for the corroboration of information on money transactions, but also may provide links between suspected individuals and possible criminal activities, thus assisting member countries‟ investigations.
c) Interpol Command and Coordination Center
Interpol‟s Command and Coordination Center (CCC) operates around the clock- 24 hours a day, 7 days a week- in each of Interpol‟s four official languages (English, French, Spanish and Arabic). The CCC serves as the first point of contact for any member country faced with a crisis and/or terrorist situation. The Center‟s staff monitors Interpol messages exchanged
between member countries and ensures that the full resources of the organization are ready and available whenever and wherever they might be needed. For instance, if a terrorist attack or natural disaster occurs, the CCC mobilizes to offer and coordinate the organization‟s
response. All messages and requests for information and assistance from the affected member countries are treated with the highest priority.
? Hyperlink to Command and Coordination Center:
d) Incident Response Teams
In the aftermath of a terrorist act or other critical incident, the affected member country/countries often request Interpol‟s support in the form of an Incident Response Team
(IRT). The IRT consists of on-site specialized personnel who are able to provide investigative and analytical support directly from the incident location. As a result of the circumstantial elements, Interpol evaluates the situation and assists member countries in determining the police requirements needed to further provide specific support, expertise, and information. Interpol deploys police officers with special law enforcement expertise to the area where the specific incident has occurred, and provides not only specialized police officers, but forensic experts and criminal analysts as well.