Wednesday, September 7, 2011
THEN On September 7, 1923, an international organization for police cooperation is established in Vienna. Initially called the International Criminal Police Commission, it later adopts the name Interpol, or the International Criminal Police Organization. In 1938, the organization falls under Nazi control when the Third Reich replaces Austria’s police chief with their own man, which automatically makes him the international policing organization’s president under the rules at the time. The free world pulls out and the Nazis subsequently move the headquarters to Berlin. At the conclusion of the war, in 1946, Interpol is reinvigorated. Nineteen countries renew their membership and Interpol is re-organized, including creating a democratic process to elect the president and executive committee. France is selected as the new home for the organization where it remains today. NOW Today, Interpol has 188 member countries and its operations range from hunting down international fugitives to arresting wildlife poachers; from rescuing child victims of human trafficking to a new role in United Nations peacekeeping operations. It deals with crimes of terrorism, drug trafficking, stolen goods, and corruption. However, Interpol was heavily criticized in the past for not going after Nazi war criminals on the basis that its constitutional provision prohibiting “any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.” In the past year, Interpol has issued arrest warrants for deposed heads of state Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, on charges of corruption.