Interpol to discuss IS at Bali assembly

Haeril Halim
Jakarta Post/Asia News Network
NUSA DUA, Indonesia (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - The spread of the Islamic State movement in Asia Pacific becomes one of the main agenda at the 85th International Police (Interpol) General Assembly in Bali.
Indonesia is set to utilise its strategic position as the host of the 85th International Police (Interpol) General Assembly in Bali to push the 167 Interpol members attending the event for greater cooperation to contain the spread of the Islamic State (IS) movement in the Asia Pacific Region.
Indonesia shares a great interest in this topic especially after a number of terrorism-related cases in recent years revealed the increasing influence of IS on various extremist cells in the country.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla is scheduled to open the conference on Monday.
Interpol president Mireille Ballestrazzi and secretary general Jürgen Stock will also be present at the event, which will run from Nov. 7 to 10. It is expected to discuss a number of key topics including establishing a system for Interpol member countries to assess and tackle the threat posed by returning terrorist fighters.
National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian and Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti, meanwhile, are set to share Indonesia’s experience in combatting terrorism and tackling illegal fishing respectively.
Police chiefs from 59 member countries have confirmed their attendance, while the others will send delegations to represent them.
National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said Indonesia needed to push for greater cooperation especially on the extradition of Indonesians fighting alongside IS in Iraq and Syria.
As an initial move, Boy said the National Police would seek greater cooperation with police authorities in the Middle East. Indonesian fighters returning from Iraq and Syria have reportedly orchestrated a number of attacks in Indonesia.
One person on the wanted list is Bahrun Naim, who is linked to at least four terrorism plots in Indonesia, including a plan to attack Singapore with a rocket from Batam, Riau Islands.
“We expect that we can bring those fighters home. For example, many Indonesians have become victims because of attacks carried out by Bahrun’s groups in Indonesia. We brought home [terrorist] Umar Patek from Pakistan in the past, so we hope we can do the same with Bahrun,” Boy said.
He said he hoped all Interpol member countries could swiftly follow up any red notices on terrorism sent by Indonesia in the future.
There are currently around 300 Indonesian citizens fighting alongside IS in the Middle East.
Terrorism analyst Ridwan Habib from the University of Indonesia (UI) said Indonesia should be able to push for a scheme whereby a member country could directly send a red notice to a destination country.
Under the current system, Ridwan said, a member country must send its red notice to Interpol headquarters in Lyon, France. It is then delivered to the destination country to be followed up. Such red tape could hamper counterterrorism efforts that needed a swift response for better results, said Ridwan.
Ridwan said the Bali forum was the best opportunity to push for this reform. “If the decision is taken in Bali then it would be something revolutionary,” Ridwan said.
He said direct intelligence sharing had been practiced by intelligence agencies at the international level, so there was no reason for Interpol not to apply the same concept in order to step up the fight against terrorism.