Article Title: INTERPOL


International Relations Current Affairs Analysis

Why is in news? Are Interpol’s notices being politically exploited? And their role and effectiveness of Interpol notices in international law in promoting global security and fostering cooperation.

The International Criminal Police Organization, more commonly known as Interpol, comprising 194 member countries, plays a crucial role as an information-sharing network to enable national police forces to combat transnational crimes.

Concerns have been raised about the misuse of Interpol’s notice system, especially the issuance of blue corner notices, which are less scrutinised than their red corner notices.

Critics argue that countries often exploit existing protocols to target political refugees and dissidents.

While efforts have been made to address this, questions remain about striking a balance between facilitating police cooperation and preventing misuse of this powerful tool.

Blue corner notice:

There are seven types of notices issued by Interpol — Red Notice, Yellow Notice, Blue Notice, Black Notice, Green Notice, Orange Notice, and Purple Notice.

A blue corner notice also known as an “enquiry notice” allows police forces in member states to share critical crime-related information such as obtaining a person’s criminal record, and location and, having his or her identity verified among others.

For instance, in January 2020, Interpol issued a blue corner notice to help locate fugitive self-styled godman Nithyananda.

Difference between blue corner notice from a red corner notice:

A red corner notice is issued by a member state to arrest a wanted criminal through extradition or any other similar lawful action.

Such notices are issued against persons wanted by national jurisdictions for prosecution or to serve a sentence based on an arrest warrant or a court decision.

The country issuing the request need not be the home country of the fugitive, Interpol acts even on the request of a country where the alleged crime has been committed.

While blue corner notices are issued prior to the filing of criminal charges, red corner notices generally follow criminal convictions.

The concerned individual can be stopped and arrested while travelling through a member state. There will also be other detrimental consequences such as the closure of bank accounts.

However, Interpol cannot compel law enforcement authorities in any country to arrest the subject of a red corner notice as the exercise of such powers is entirely discretionary.

In 2018, a red corner notice was issued against fugitive billionaire Nirav Modi in relation to the Punjab National Bank scam.

However, in October 2022, Interpol rejected a second request by India to issue such a notice against Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, whom the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has listed as a “terrorist.”

The agency said that India has failed to provide sufficient information to support its case and that his activities have a “clear political dimension.”

Is the notice system prone to misuse?

Although Interpol’s Constitution explicitly forbids any activities of a political character, activists have accused it of failing to enforce this rule.

Much of this outrage is directed at Russia, which has repeatedly issued notices and diffusions for the arrest of Kremlin opponents. According to the U.S. rights organisation Freedom House, Russia is responsible for 38% of all public red notices.

International human rights groups have also accused China, Iran, Turkey, and Tunisia, among others, of abusing the agency’s notice system for authoritarian ends.

In response to the mounting criticism, Interpol toughened the oversight of its red notice system.

However, vulnerabilities remain when it comes to the issuance of blue notices with experts flagging that such notices are less likely to be reviewed before publication.

The agency’s data shows that blue notices have roughly doubled in number over the past decade.

But countries like Turkey argue that such restraint in the issuance of notices hampers police cooperation and that the West should not interfere with their internal affairs.


The International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) is an international organization that facilitates worldwide police cooperation and crime control.

It originated with the first International Criminal Police Congress in 1914, which brought officials from 24 countries to discuss cooperation on law enforcement matters.

It was founded in 1923 as the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC).

In 1946, after the end of World War II, the organization was revived as the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO) by officials from Belgium, France, Scandinavia and the UK.

In 1956, the ICPC adopted a new constitution and the name INTERPOL.

It is headquartered in Lyon, France.

It has seven regional bureaus worldwide and a National Central Bureau (NCB) in all 194 member states, making it the world’s largest police organization.

India has been a member since 1956.

India maintains NCB which serves as the national platform for cooperation between domestic law enforcement units and the international police community.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is designated as National Central Bureau of India.

Objectives of INTERPOL:

To ensure and promote the widest possible mutual assistance between all criminal police authorities within the limits of the laws existing in the different countries.

To establish and develop all institutions which contribute to the prevention and suppression of ordinary law crimes.

It cannot undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.

Functions of Interpol:

Interpol focuses on broad categories of international criminal behaviour such as terrorism and crimes against people and property, as well as economic, financial, and corruption crimes, and counterfeiting, among other things.

To combat transnational crime, Interpol collaborates closely with all member nations and international organisations such as the United Nations and the European Union.

The Interpol essentially unites police forces all around the world, even if the individual member countries do not have diplomatic connections.

Interpol enables international information exchange, knowledge sharing, and research.

INTERPOL’s Structure:

Interpol’s Constitution lists the following administrative divisions as members of the organisation:

General Assembly

General Secretariat

Executive Committee

National Central Bureaus

The General Assembly and the Executive Committee form the organization’s governance.