Russia losses Interpol presidency vote

 Mr Jong-yang had been acting Interpol chief since the last president's disappearance in September

Mr Jong-yang had been acting Interpol chief since the last president’s disappearance in September

Interpol has elected South Korean Kim Jong-yang as its president, rejecting the controversial Russian frontrunner.

Mr Kim was chosen by Interpol’s 194 member states at a meeting of its annual congress in Dubai.

He beat Russia’s Alexander Prokopchuk, who has been accused of using Interpol’s arrest warrant system to target critics of the Kremlin.

Russia blamed the outcome of the voting on “unprecedented pressure and interference”.

 

The election follows the disappearance of Interpol’s former president Meng Hongwei, who vanished on a trip to China in September. Beijing has since confirmed he has been detained and is being investigated for allegedly taking bribes.

Mr Kim, 57, beat Mr Prokopchuk, also 57, by 101 votes to 61 at Interpol’s General Assembly meeting on Wednesday, media reports say.

 

Interpol confirmed the South Korean’s victory, without revealing the breakdown of the results.

Mr Kim is a former South Korean police officer who once served as head of police in Gyeonggi, the country’s most populous province.

He was already senior vice-president of Interpol and had been serving as acting president since Mr Meng’s disappearance. He will serve out the remaining two years of Mr Meng’s term.

Although his role as president is largely ceremonial – the day-to-day running of Interpol is led by Secretary-General Jürgen Stock – it does wield influence.

Upon his election, Mr Kim said: “Our world is now facing unprecedented changes which present huge challenges to public security and safety.

“To overcome them, we need a clear vision: we need to build a bridge to the future.”

 

Mr Prokopchuk is a Russian general who worked for many years with Russia’s interior ministry.

While he was Interpol’s Moscow bureau chief, he was accused of abusing the so-called red notice system – international arrest warrants – to target those who were critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

No such accusations have been leveled at him while he has been one of Interpol’s four vice-presidents.

Moscow said Mr Prokopchuk would remain an Interpol vice-president representing Europe and “focus on strengthening the position of Interpol in the international police community and increasing the efficiency of the organisation’s work”.

 

There had been growing fears among Russian human rights groups and officials from other countries that Moscow would use his position as president to target its political opponents. -BBC

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