Obama’s Executive Order Expands INTERPOL’s Immunity

By Haggai Carmon

On December 16, 2009, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order amending Executive Order 12425, which designated Interpol as a public international organization entitled to enjoy certain privileges, exemptions and immunities.

Although alternative media outlets have picked up on this Executive Order with a view to inciting panic, the order simply expands the international police organization’s immunity to match that of other international organizations like the Red Cross.

Interpol is the world’s largest international police organization, numbering 188 member countries. It was created in 1923 to facilitate cross-border police cooperation. It seeks to support and assist all organizations and services that aim to prevent or combat international crime.

Even where diplomatic relations do not exist between countries, Interpol tries to facilitate cooperation so as to strengthen the fight against crime around the world. The organization’s constitution prohibits any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.

In 1983, Ronald Reagan issued Executive Order 12425, which served to classify Interpol as an international organization protected by the International Organizations Immunities Act. The Act protects qualifying international organizations from certain levies and taxes, searches and seizures, but Reagan’s EO excluded Interpol from some of the Act’s immunities.

In 1995, Bill Clinton signed an EO lifting one exception relating to federal taxes and duties. President Obama’s EO lifts the remaining exceptions, making Interpol immune to search and seizure, as well as social security, property and importation taxes.

In essence, President Obama has only afforded Interpol the same immunities given other similar international organizations operating within U.S. territory.

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