KIGALI - The Secretary General of Interpol, Ronald Noble, yesterday said that his institution will continue working with the Rwanda National Police and the Genocide Fugitive Tracking Unit (GFTU) to pursue all wanted genocide suspects from their hide-outs.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, Noble, who was in the country to attend the 13th Eastern African Police Chief’s Cooperation Organization (EAPCCO) General Assembly, said that tracking genocide fugitives remains one of Interpol’s key priorities .
“The Interpol has been doing great work with the Rwandan Police force and the office of the Prosecutor in terms of tracking down genocide fugitives. Of the over 97 red notices that have been issued, 32 have been arrested worldwide.
“That has been due to our close cooperation. This remains a priority for us. Rwanda has been great in making sure access to Interpol databases can be extended as far as possible,” Noble said.
Noble, who was flanked by Elizabeth Kutesa, the Assistant Director for Africa Interpol General Secretariat and Awad Dahia, the head of Interpol Regional Bureau, said that the organisation’s priorities remain the same including the fight against terrorism, trans-national and organised crime, human trafficking and drug trafficking.
Noble said that the fact that 32 of the 97 have been arrested, which is almost a third, is a significant step, considering how most of the wanted individuals are “elusive and enterprising”, which makes it difficult to capture them.
He noted that most of the genocide suspects operate under false names and documents and move in sophisticated ways to avoid arrest, observing that so far, 10 genocide suspects have been arrested with false documents.
“It’s a huge problem. They also have access to resources that allow them to hide from capture but just to remind you; it took 10 years to track down Osama bin Laden.
“The most important point is that their movement is limited and if they make the wrong step or cross the wrong border at the wrong time, they risk being arrested”.
On the presence of many genocide suspects in France yet Interpol has its headquarters in the country, Noble said that France is one of the few countries which systematically scan the passports of all travellers, underlining that genocide suspects use elusive ways.
He noted that France is one of the few countries which consult the database of Interpol upon every passport that enters the country, but somehow the fugitives manage to manoeuvre around using false identities, while some countries like Belgium do not consult the database.
Noble said that the organisation is not only strengthening its cooperation with Rwanda by increasing access to its database, but also through regional organisations such as EAPCCO to ensure that trans-border and organised crimes are dealt a heavy blow.
He said that, among other things, Rwanda National Police has agreed to avail Interpol database at all police stations in the country and border posts. He observed that Interpol is entering into such an arrangement with EAPCCO to have this replicated across the region.
With the increasing access to internet, especially in Africa, Noble said that among Interpol’s priorities is fightimg cyber crimes which are on the rise, noting however that this is a sophisticated and expensive exercise.