ARUSHA, Tanzania – INTERPOL’s 19th African Regional Conference ended on Friday with a call for all National Central Bureaus (NCBs) to provide whatever assistance necessary to arrest the remaining fugitives of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
A report submitted to delegates by the Registrar and Prosecutor General of the ICTR underlined the importance of apprehending the 18 individuals still wanted before the scheduled closure of the tribunal in December 2008. The request comes just weeks after Interpol assisted in co-ordinating the arrest of Rwandan genocide fugitive Isaac Kamali in France.
'It is our duty as police officers to do everything within our power to identify and apprehend those fugitives who are wanted in connection with such serious crimes,' said INTERPOL President Jackie Selebi.
'I urge all of our member countries, not only those in the African region, to work together to bring these people to justice.'
Officially closing the conference, President of Zanzibar Amani Abeid Karume praised the delegates for the work they had achieved.
'Regional and international gatherings like this one are extremely important. They create avenues through which member states can formulate strategies on how to identify and dismantle the criminal networks and their anti-social activities.'
Delegates at the three-day conference supported calls for enhanced border security to assist in fugitive investigations and to better tackle drugs trafficking throughout the region.
The increasing amount of drugs, particularly cocaine, being smuggled through Africa was highlighted as an area of special concern requiring greater co-ordination between INTERPOL’s Sub-Regional Bureaus (SRBs) and NCBs in Africa and countries of production in Latin America and Asia.
To enhance the effective use of INTERPOL’s tools in tackling transnational crime, delegates underlined the need for NCBs to occupy high-level positions within their national administrations, and agreed that a series of national awareness seminars be organized throughout the region.
Following recent successful joint operations with support from regional police chiefs’ committees in Southern Africa (SARPCCO), East Africa (EAPCCO) and Central Africa (CAPCCO), delegates called on NCBs in West Africa to work with INTERPOL’s SRB in Abidjan and WAPCCO to launch a similar operation to target transnational crime.
The conference also endorsed a recommendation calling on NCBs to each designate and inform the INTERPOL General Secretariat of a contact person who would identify potential vulnerable targets for terrorist or other criminal attacks.