ICOM was invited to participate as an observer in the 81st General Assembly of the ICPO-INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization), which was held from 5 to 8 November, 2012 in Rome.
Julien Anfruns, Director General of ICOM and the Iraqi delegate present during the INTERPOL General Assembly
INTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organisation. Its role is to assist the law-enforcement agencies of its 190 member countries in fighting all forms of transnational criminality.
In April 2000, ICOM signed an Official Cooperation Agreement with INTERPOL in the context of the fight against illicit traffic in cultural goods. Both organisations are members of the group of experts recognized by the UN in this field, and thus cooperate frequently: as an example, in 2006, more than 600 pre-Columbian artefacts from Ecuador, stolen and partly exported to the United States, were seized thanks to the close collaboration between ICOM, INTERPOL and the national polices involved.
Within this 81st INTERPOL General Assembly, a session dedicated to the protection of cultural heritage was held on 7 November, during which INTERPOL adopted a resolution intended to improve the international cooperation and strengthen the sharing of information on illicit traffic in cultural goods. Among the participants, the Iraqi delegate to INTERPOL illustrated this need and stressed the importance of ICOM’s Red Lists as work tools for the police, and more particularly the Emergency Red List of Iraqi Antiquities at Risk, prepared by ICOM and a group of international experts at the INTERPOL headquarters in 2003.
Julien Anfruns, Director General of ICOM, also had the opportunity to have a discussion with the new President of INTERPOL, Ms Mireille Ballestrazzi, with a view to intensify the working relationship between the two organisations.