August 11, 2012
Sea Shepherd Addresses the Impact Of Interpol 'Red Notice' On Captain
Watson and the Organization's Operations
After much speculation and misinformation about the impact of the
recently announced 'Red Notice' issued by Interpol for Captain Paul
Watson, founder and president of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
who was arrested at Frankfurt airport on May 13th and held in
Germany for 70 days until his departure on or around July 22nd, Sea
Shepherd is setting the record straight. Using information posted to
its website as provided in a letter from Captain Watson's lead legal
counsel in Germany, Oliver Wallasch, Sea Shepherd addresses the
speculation head-on with the legal facts of this case.
here to read the entire unedited letter.
Questions & Answers
Q.: What is the impact of
Captain Watson forfeiting bail to leave Germany?
Skipping bail in Germany is not a crime! This is totally different
from U.S. jurisdiction and from other countries in the world.
Article 2 of the German constitution states, that Germany grants
personal freedom. Therefore it is not even a crime in Germany to
escape from prison. The decision of the client to leave the country
leads only to the consequence that the local (not international!)
arrest warrant of the Higher Regional Court was set into force, and
that bail is seized (forfeited) on decision by the court. Because of
the fact that the client was arrested in an extradition procedure,
Germany is not actively searching for Mr. Watson locally or
Q.: What is the extradition procedure in Germany as it
pertains to this case?
A.: In the case of Mr.
Watson, we knew that besides the request of Costa Rica, there was
also a 'blue' note issued by Interpol on charges from Japan against
the client. This 'blue' note on the warrant from Japan has been
active since 2010 and has not converted into a 'red' notice with
Interpol during the whole extradition procedure with Costa Rica. But
we learned that Japan was highly interested concerning the procedure
with Costa Rica because they sent requests through Interpol Tokyo to
the Higher Regional Court to gather more information on the
procedure itself. This was absolutely unusual. The German
authorities are allowed to extradite even without a special treaty
with the requesting country. Therefore it was very likely that Japan
would ask for extradition itself on a bilateral basis; after Mr.
Watson left the country, we learned that such an extradition request
was forwarded by the Japanese Embassy through the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs to the General Public Prosecution Office in
Frankfurt. The scenario would have been that Mr. Watson would have
been extradited to Costa Rica, and then extradited after the
procedure to Japan.
These facts show,
that there was a link between the extradition request from Costa
Rica and the upcoming extradition request from Japan. Having in mind
that the president of Costa Rica visited Japan at the end of 2011,
having in mind that Japan granted an enormous amount of money for
"environmental protection" in Costa Rica, it is obvious that these
two countries have a very close relationship.
the Interpol 'Red' Notice a warrant and what is its impact?
A.: Interpol Notices are international alerts allowing police in
member countries to share information. Interpol is not actively
issuing arrest warrants, Interpol is not actively searching for the
defendant, and Interpol is not involved in the extradition
procedure. Interpol just exchanges information between the police in
the member countries.
The information that Interpol has issued a 'red' notice against
Mr. Watson on the charges of Costa Rica only means that the police
in the member countries shall be aware that Mr. Watson is wanted by
Costa Rica. It is up to the police and the judicial authorities
within the Interpol member countries whether or not they want to act
on this local arrest warrant from Costa Rica.
What is the impact of the 'Red Notice' on Sea Shepherd Conservation
A.: Because of the fact that
these are individual cases and charges against Mr. Watson (in Costa
Rica and in Japan) which are as stated probably politically
motivated, there is no impact on the work of S.S.C.S. as an NGO
itself; it is a general principle that criminal charges are against
individuals, not against legal bodies.
Captain Watson be able to travel for the upcoming Antarctic and
A.: "I am convinced that Captain
Paul Watson is able to continue his work, even with these bogus
charges against him," Wallasch said.
Statement by Sea
Shepherd's Administrative Director
In speaking about
Japan's transparent attempts to thwart Sea Shepherd's campaigns,
Susan Hartland, Administrative Director of Sea Shepherd, had this to
say: "The warrant and 'blue' notice generated is just another feeble
attempt by Japan to try and keep us from our mission to protect,
conserve and defend our oceans," she said. "We operate within the
legal confines of the United Nations World Charter for Nature. We
are an enforcement entity acting legally against their relentless
and archaic illegal whaling operations in a designated sanctuary
and, as such, we will continue our direct action to protect the
oceans and the wildlife in and around it. Our supporters expect no
less and that is what we will continue to deliver. Our supporters
stand by us and we stand by Captain Watson, all the other captains
of our ships, and all of our courageous crew," she said.
Hartland added: "Of course, we know that Japan would love nothing
more than to have their own 'red' notice issued on Captain Watson.
They tried for 'red' but Interpol recognized their attempts as
politically motivated, so they were forced to settle for a 'blue'
notice instead," she said. "Colluding with Germany and Costa Rica,
Japan tried to extradite him, they have brought suit against us in
the US, they have harassed and arrested Sea Shepherd crew members,
and charged them with benign or bogus offenses when they've had the
chance," she said.
"Nothing Japan does will stop us from
returning to Antarctica this season with four vessels and four crews
of committed and passionate volunteers to shut down the Japanese
whaling fleet," she added.
In 2010, when the initial 'blue
notice' for Captain Watson was issued by Interpol, Captain Watson
knew it was as a result of Japan wielding their political and
financial might once again, just like they continue to buy off
member nations of the IWC. At the time, Captain Watson had this to
say: "Give me my name on a blue list, the red list, the black list,
or the death list, for it is preferable to the I-don't-give-a-crap
incident in question took place in Guatemalan waters, when Sea
Shepherd encountered an illegal shark-finning operation run by the Costa Rican vessel, the
Varadero I. On order of Guatemalan authorities, Sea Shepherd
instructed the crew of the Varadero I to cease their shark-finning
activities and head back to a Guatemalan port to be prosecuted.
While escorting the Varadero I back to port, the tables were turned
and a Guatemalan gunboat was dispatched to intercept the Sea
Shepherd crew. To avoid the Guatemalan gunboat, Sea Shepherd then
set sail for Costa Rica, where the crew uncovered even more illegal
shark-finning activities in the form of dried shark fins by the
thousands on the roofs of industrial buildings.