File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

INTERPOL and Red Notice

To date, INTERPOL is the most important international entity dealing with issues of transnational policing and international police cooperation with a global reach. It has no executive powers. Its officials therefore do not arrest suspects or act without the consent of national authorities. INTERPOL is an intergovernmental organization whose mission is to promote international police cooperation. It has a legal personality independent of member states and subject to international law. Despite many limitations of an objective nature, INTERPOL in its current form is an important tool in the fight against international crime.

This institution needs to be further developed with greater involvement of member states. In the future, INTERPOL can contribute to a significant improvement in the level of international police cooperation in the world. However, there are also observations that leaders of some member states have misused INTERPOL in the past to issue Red Notices against their political opponents, dissidents, human rights activists and journalists.


INTERPOL was not created by treaty nor was it created by states. INTERPOL was developed by a diverse group of domestic police officers who structured the international entity and designed its legal framework to work together within the limits set by the laws of their respective countries. As a product of the police environment, INTERPOL was for many years constituted to look like a private police club, fuelling general confusion about the organization's membership, role and legal status.

INTERPOL was founded in 1923, on September 7, by 20 countries that saw an urgent need to facilitate cross-border police cooperation. The world has changed since then, but the need for such collaboration remains as strong as ever. INTERPOL is a unique organization because it has the mandate and technical infrastructure to share globally police related information.

Today, INTERPOL plays a central role in the global security architecture, representing stability, offering neutrality and inspiring trust in a rapidly changing world. INTERPOL says it will continue to draw on its century of experience to enable its members to meet new policing challenges for the next 100 years and beyond.

The full name of INTERPOL is the International Criminal Police Organization, which is an intergovernmental organization headquartered in Lyon, France, with seven regional offices and three special offices worldwide and a national headquarters in all 195 member states. It helps police in all 195 countries work together to make the world a safer place, enabling them to share and access data about crime and criminals, and offering different technical and operational support.

To facilitate international police cooperation is the mission of INTERPOL, which is an intergovernmental organization. It has a legal personality that is separate from the legal personality of the member countries and is governed by international law. According to its charter, Interpol strives to remain politically neutral in carrying out its mandate and is thus prohibited from engaging in interventions or activities that are political, military, religious or racial in nature and from engaging in disputes over such matters.

Arabic, English, French and Spanish are the languages in which INTERPOL operates. Out of its total operating income of �142 million in 2019, 24% was in-kind contributions, 35% voluntary cash contributions and 41% statutory contributions. Each of the member countries pays a statutory contribution to INTERPOL each year; it is a mandatory payment.

The amount each country pays is approved annually by the General Assembly according to a modified United Nations contribution scale, based in principle on economic weight. Statutory contributions generally fund the operational costs of the General Secretariat and some core policing, training and support activities in line with the Agency's strategic priorities. Major donors of voluntary (cash) funding in recent years include the European Commission, Global Affairs Canada and the US State Department. Singapore and France are the two largest in-kind donors.

Under a strict legal framework and data protection rules to strengthen trust and ensure the quality of information, member countries contribute data voluntarily to INTERPOL.

INTERPOL maintains a criminal database of fingerprints, DNA profiles and facial images provided by its member countries. This allows police around the world to make connections between criminals and crime scenes. It also trains frontline officers to evaluate, preserve and share evidence in accordance with best practices.

Sharing information about fugitives and bringing them back to justice in the country where they committed the crime has been INTERPOL's main function since its creation. Today it is even more important in a world where travel is so easy and crime so fluidly crosses borders. The world is only getting smaller; there are no borders for refugees and close international police cooperation has never been more important.

INTERPOL also supports member countries and other international entities in the search and arrest of refugees who cross international borders. It provides investigative support, provides training, connects experts and promotes the sharing of best practices.

It also provides operational support and assistance in the search for persons wanted for serious international crimes. It maintains a number of databases containing information relating to criminals and criminal offences. Millions of records of information about individuals including names and fingerprints, stolen property such as passports and vehicles, weapons and firearms are kept by the database.

INTERPOL's day-to-day operations are carried out by the General Secretariat, which includes approximately 1,000 personnel from more than 100 countries, including both police and civilians.

The transformational efforts of M. Marcel Sicot, the brilliant Surete detective who succeeded Ducloux as Secretary General, contributed significantly to the growth of Interpol. With a dedicated team of forty detectives and the support of Richard Leofric Jackson, former head of Scotland Yard's CID and President of Interpol in 1961, the organization now boasts an impressive modern headquarters in Paris befitting its importance.

Main Goal
According to the "new" statutes of the organization, Interpol's main goal is to promote mutual assistance between criminal police authorities within the limits of existing laws in different countries. Its purpose is to establish and develop institutions for the effective combating of crimes and offenses under the common law, to the express exclusion of any matters of a political, religious or racial nature.

In 1949, then Secretary General M. Ducloux reaffirmed Interpol's official policy. Its aim is to ensure rapid communication between all branches of criminal investigation, to speed up the identification, arrest and trial of criminals seeking refuge abroad. In addition, Interpol seeks to provide courts with a comprehensive view of the true identity of professional criminals. It involved collaboration with legal experts, sociologists and scientific professionals from around the world who benefited from discoveries made by police in direct contact with common law criminals.

INTERPOL's vision is "Police Connections for a Safer World", ensuring a world where law enforcement professionals can securely access, share and communicate vital police information whenever and wherever needed, thereby promoting the safety of the world's citizens.

The mission of INTERPOL's is to prevent and fight crime through enhanced cooperation and innovation in security and policing matters ensuring the maximum possible cooperation between law enforcement agencies of the world through capacity building and training, secure channels, operational support and global police data and information.

Crimes such as corruption, counterfeit currency and documents, crimes against children, crimes related to cultural heritage, cybercrime, drug trafficking, environmental crime, financial crime, firearms trafficking, human trafficking and migrant smuggling, illegal goods, maritime crime, organized crime, terrorism, vehicle crime and war crimes are its first priority.

Command and Coordination Centre
The Command and Coordination Centre is the nerve centre of INTERPOL's day-to-day operations. It is the first point of contact for any country in need of urgent assistance from the General Secretariat or from another country. Its staff can help the national police cross time zones and language barriers to help with investigations.

This could be, for example, searching for refugees or carrying out identity checks or database checks. From its three operating theatres in Buenos Aires, Lyon and Singapore, CCC provides 24/7/365 service. The CCC can respond in all four official languages viz. Arabic, English, French and Spanish as it is staffed by officials of various nationalities.

To keep up with the rapidly evolving criminal world, the police must constantly improve their skills, be able to use the high-tech tools and systems available to them, and always have up-to-date data at their fingertips.

To join terrorist groups young women and men travel to conflict zones. Child sex offenders are leaving their home countries to exploit victims overseas. Smugglers and traffickers hide their cargo of illegal goods and desperate migrants. Fugitives cross borders to escape justice.

Effective border security is an essential part of the fight against transnational crime. Criminals and terrorists often travel with forged identity documents.

To check persons, passports and vehicles INTERPOL gives its member countries access to a number of databases. This access is available to officers of national central authorities and can be extended to frontline law enforcement officers at border crossings.

Using a large amount of information
Information is the lifeblood of police work. Millions of records sent from law enforcement agencies around the world are held by INTERPOL in its various criminal databases. INTERPOL needs advanced tools to process and analyse this data in order to identify patterns of crime and establish links between offenders and investigations.

INTERPOL manages this through the so-called Criminal Analysis Files, which are databases that store and structure information and allow analysis reports to be generated. It has specific components related to drug trafficking, illicit markets (e.g., goods, pharmaceuticals and wildlife products), Eurasian organized crime, foreign terrorist fighters and the manufacture of bombs and improvised explosive devices.

The dialogue is a unique process that brings together all the world's regional police organizations and other major intergovernmental security bodies under the global umbrella of INTERPOL to hold regular high-level discussions on coordinating efforts against global threats. This high-level process was established in 2016 based on INTERPOL's strong belief in the importance of adopting a comprehensive and coordinated global approach to address security threats across continents. It seeks to improve mutual cooperation, enhance the exchange of information and best practices, and minimize duplication among key international and regional law enforcement stakeholders.

The Working of INTERPOL
In the fight against a range of crimes the General Secretariat coordinates in day-to-day activities. Staffed by both police and civilians with its headquarters in Lion, a global innovation complex in Singapore and several satellite offices, it is run by the Secretary General. National Central Bureau (NCB) in each country provides INTERPOL point of contact for the General Secretariat and other NCBs. Responsible for policing and run by national police officers, NCB generally is located in government department.

Interpol is headed by a President and a Secretary General who work together in close coordination for achieving its objectives and smooth functioning. It consists of the administrative departments like General Assembly, General Secretariat, Executive Committee and National Central Bureau. All countries are brought together once in a year to take decision by the General Assembly, which is its governing body run by the Executive Committee and takes all important decisions viz.

Working methods, programs, resources, finances, policies and other activities. In the annual meeting each member country is represented by one or more delegates normally headed by the Chief of law enforcement agencies.

The members of the Executive Committee of the Interpol are selected by the General assembly to guide and direct in between sessions of the Assembly. The Executive Committee comprises of a President, three Vice Presidents and nine delegates to cover four different reasons.

The General Secretariat of the Interpol works 24/7/365. It has six regional offices for effective functioning in Zimbabwe (Africa), Thailand (South East Asia), Kenya (East Africa), El Salvador (Central America), Cote d'lvoire (West Africa) and Argentina (South America). Interpol has its headquarters in Lyon, France and liaison office in New York, USA. Interpol through its Executive Committee after confirmation of the General assembly can appoint advisers who are experts in their fields and work in a purely advisory capacity.

National Central Bureau (NCB)
In each member country there is an INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB). This links their national law enforcement agencies with other countries and with the General Secretariat through INTERPOL's secure global police communications network called I-24/7.

NCBs are the heart of INTERPOL and its operations. They seek information needed from other national central bureaus to help them investigate crime or criminals in their country and share criminal data and intelligence to help another country.

NCBs work with the following agencies as part of their role in global investigations:
  • Law enforcement authorities around the world
  • Other NCBs and sub-offices around the world
  • General Secretariat offices around the world
In accordance with their respective national laws NCBs contribute national crime data to INTERPOL's global databases and cooperate on cross-border investigations, operations and arrests.

Global Network
Nowadays most of the crimes are international and it is important that all players jointly work and maintain a global security architecture.

With the help of INTERPOL police of different countries can work directly and cooperation even between countries having no diplomatic relation is possible. Engaging with the governments of different countries at the highest level to encourage cooperation and use of its services, it also provides a voice for police at the global level. INTERPOL is politically neutral and takes its decisions within the ambit of existing laws in different countries.

Three Main Categories of Notices
For cooperation and alerts that allow police in member countries to share critical information related to criminal activity international requests are sent in the form of Notices by INTERPOLE.

The General Secretariat publishes the notice at the request of the national central offices which are available to all member countries. To further the cause of justice Interpol uses three main categories of notices, an internationally recognized document. A red notice requests the police of the receiving country to locate, detain and hand over the wanted person as this notice shows urgency or highest priority.

The information or details about a person, his whereabouts, and movement on specific dates, real name, nicknames and lifestyle are issued in a blue corner notice. A green colour notice, on the other hand, serves as a warning asking the recipient country to keep the person on watch against whom the notice is issued.

Red Notice
A Red Notice is a request by law enforcement agencies worldwide to locate and temporarily arrest a person pending extradition, surrender or similar legal action. Judicial authorities of the requesting country issue the arrest warrant or court order in this regard. Member countries apply their own laws when deciding whether to arrest a person or not. In order to escape justice criminals may flee to another country. A red notice alerts police around the world regarding internationally wanted fugitives. A red notice is an international wanted person alert, but it is not an arrest warrant.

It contains two main types of information:
  • The name, date of birth, nationality, hair and eye colour, photograph and fingerprints, if available, to identify the wanted person.
  • The crime for which they are wanted like murder, rape, child abuse or armed robbery.

INTERPOL issues Red Notices at the request of a member country after following all statutes and rules. An average of nine INTERPOL Red Notices is cancelled each day due to the arrest, extradition or transfer of the fugitives in question.

Importance of Red Notice
Since they are used to simultaneously alert police in all member countries about internationally wanted fugitives, Red Notices are important. Sometimes many years after the original crime was committed, red notices help bring fugitives to justice. A person, against whom a red notice is issued, is wanted by a country or an international tribunal. To arrest someone who is the subject of a red notice cannot be compelled by the Interpol.

It depends on the decision of each member country as to what legal value they will attach to Red Notice and whether they will arrest the wanted person or not.

Red Notices are issued for fugitives wanted either for prosecution or for serving a sentence in connection with serious common law offenses such as murder, rape and fraud. This follows from the criminal proceedings in the country that issued the request. It is not always the individual's home country.

When a person is prosecuted, it means that the person has not been convicted and should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. A person sought to serve sentence means that person has been found guilty by a court in the country that requested the publication of the Red Notice.

Red Notice may not be issued for some offences
Article 83, INTERPOL Rules on the Data Processing, sets out specific conditions for the publication of Red Notices against wanted persons in different crimes. Red Notices can only be published if it is a serious common law offence.

For the following categories of crime they may not be published:
  • Crimes that raise controversial questions about behavioural or cultural norms in some countries. For example, prostitution or crimes related to defamation;
  • Crimes involving family/private matters. For example, adultery, bigamy/polygamy or homosexual acts;
  • Criminal acts arising from violations of laws or regulations of an administrative nature or resulting from private disputes, if the criminal activity is not aimed at aiding and abetting a serious crime or is not suspected of being connected to organized crime. For example, traffic violations, defamation, or issuing bad cheques (if there was no fraudulent or malicious intent at the time the check was issued).
A non-exhaustive list of specific crimes that fall into above categories are maintained by the General Secretariat.

Checks carried out before a red corner notice is issued
All Red Notice applications are assessed for compliance with INTERPOL rules by their Notices and Diffusions Task Force, a dedicated multilingual and multi-disciplinary working group made up of lawyers, police and operational specialists. In assessing compliance with the notice, the Task Force shall take into account all information available to it at the time e.g., information from the National Central Bureau requesting the Notice, other member countries and open sources.

If a Notice or diffusion is determined to no longer comply with the Statutes and Rules of INTERPOL, it is revoked. To remove all information from their databases, all members of Interpol are informed and requested in this regard. If information is obtained about a person against whom a Red Notice has been issued, the local police station and/or the General Secretariat of INTERPOL may be notified.

Whether or not a Red Notice has been issued against an individual can be verified on the website of INTERPOL's Commission for the Control of INTERPOL's Files (CCF), an independent body. Application to the CCF is free and treated confidentially.

Other Notices
Yellow Notice is issued to trace a missing person or to identify a person who cannot identify herself/himself. Black Notice is issued to seek information on unidentified dead bodies. Orange Notice is issued to warn of a process representing an imminent threat and danger to persons or property event, or to warn of a person, an object.

To provide information on modus operandi, procedures, objects, devices, or hiding places used by criminals, Purple Notice is issued. To inform the members of Interpol that an individual or entity is subject to UN sanctions, Interpol-UNSC Special Notice is issued.

Diffusion is the notice of the start of a search for suspects on an international scale by national judicial authorities. Diffusions are prepared and distributed by INTERPOL national offices via I-24/7 directly to their counterparts in member countries. Diffusions can be sent to all or selected national INTERPOL offices. The subject of Diffusion may be a request to stop, to find out the place of residence or to obtain additional information about a person.

Limitations of INTERPOL
  1. The popular image of Interpol as a global police force hunting down fake passport fraudsters is a myth. Interpol officers aren't kicking down doors to arrest dirty art thieves. People who work under Interpol cannot conduct investigations or make arrests and there is no such post called Interpol Officer.
  2. Interpol is UN-like in composition. However, it is not intended to resolve disputes. It is designed to assist the police forces of member countries.
  3. Kike the CBI or a frontline police force Interpol is not an investigative agency.
  4. It is charged with sharing information and providing technical assistance to law enforcement agencies.
  5. Interpol's action against notorious fugitives is dependent on corresponding action by member countries where the fugitives might seek shelter
  6. Interpol cannot act alone. The legal procedure required depends on bilateral arrangements such as mutual legal assistance treaties.
  7. Interpol cannot force any member state to carry out its order neither does it issue any order.
  8. There are allegations against some member states vis-a-vis arm twisting Interpol to issue red corner notices against their opponents and critics.
  9. Questions about the integrity of INTERPOL and its processes came to the fore in 2018 when the presidency of the organization was up for grabs.
  10. Interpol has no supervisory functions in relation to the activities of the national police. Interpol's information exchange activity is conditional on the voluntary cooperation of individual countries. An important limitation is the vague definition of the data that member states provide.

INTERPOL and India
India joined INTERPOL on 15 October, 1949 and is one of its oldest members. National Central Bureau of India is in New Delhi. A large number of red-corner notices were issued at the request of Indian law enforcement agencies, leading to the apprehension of several accused persons and convicted fugitives.

India has been an active member of Interpol over the years being one of the important and oldest members of Interpol. CBI has conducted several operations with Interpol. There are over 750 such notices active from India. India also urged Interpol to expedite red corner notices during the inauguration of the 90th Interpol General Assembly in New Delhi in October, 2022. The National Central Bureau (NCB) of India is the Central Bureau of Investigation, New Delhi.

Beyond Judicial Scrutiny
There is no judicial process or scrutiny over the working of Interpol, ultimately.

Decisions by its General Secretariat on whether to allow data on its system to exist are made behind closed doors and it is immune from suit in any domestic court. This means that the data stored in its system can have far-reaching consequences if an individual is exposed to abuse and illegal behaviour by state authorities acting in pursuit of improper purposes.

Before any national or international court issuance of Red Notice cannot be successfully challenged. Such jurisdictional immunity can only be justified to the extent that an internal appeals mechanism provides an effective remedy in line with human rights standards. For its failure to deal with large and growing number of complex complaints, Interpol's Commission for the Control of Files has been criticized.

It should also be noted that Red Alerts are not the only form of information that INTERPOL can hold or share with member countries. Various colour alerts are available for warnings and alerts, additional information and modus operandi, among others. These must comply with the INTERPOL Statutes and its Data Processing Rules. There is also provision for diffusions.

Diffusions may not meet the same criteria as those required for red notices and, given their nature as bilateral or multilateral forms of messaging between Member States, may have a wider impact, particularly as they can be more easily placed on a system without the same level of scrutiny, which is required to place a red alert.

Obstacles and Misuse
International cooperation within INTERPOL is complicated by the fact that many countries have different police authorities, such as civilian police, military police, national police, regional police or local police. In order to improve the international exchange of information within Interpol, Member States should have technology that enables the rapid and secure exchange of information between the relevant national services.

The primary obstacle to raising police cooperation within Interpol to a higher level is the disputes between states and the diversity of their political interests. As a result, the international community has not yet been able to agree on many basic standards of international law, such as the definitions of international terrorism and international crime.

There is no universal international convention on mutual legal assistance and extradition. Fundamental problems in the functioning of Interpol on the threshold of internal security of the 21st century, January to June 95 take an ambiguous position on the recognition of the legality of Interpol's Red Notices. There is also no universal international agreement governing the issues of Interpol's immunities and privileges.

It is therefore important that Interpol never again becomes subject to political control. The means for this is primarily to avoid political leadership and focus on the practical aspects of police cooperation. The large number of members of Interpol is its weakness and it has a limited ability to respond quickly to new threats. It also makes effective cooperation difficult as there is a multiplicity and diversity of legal regimes within which police authorities of member states operate.

For the same reasons, Interpol is not flexible enough when it comes to financial aspects. Based on these claims, critics of Interpol claim that it is only a "box" and there is no possibility of developing reliable analyzes of criminal activity.

On holding a proper legal status, the effectiveness of Interpol, which operates in a transnational dimension, is dependent. Interpol, in the opinion of some experts in the field of international law, does not have an optimal legal solution and levers on the national law of individual member states. Interpol's weakest point is the outdated and ineffective legal basis for its operation.

International organizations continue to report that some states are abusing the Interpol notification system to persecute national human rights defenders, civil society activists and critical journalists in violation of international human rights standards. Available case studies, written reports and interviews with organizations active in the field confirm the reported abuses.

On the protection of individuals both substantively and procedurally recent Interpol reforms have had a significant impact. Full implementation of reforms and transparency are required in view of the significant increase in the number of Notices and Diffusions issued by the Interpol.

It was reported recently that Malaysian police plan to seek help from INTERPOL to track down comedian Jocelyn Chia from the US who joked about the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Ms Chia, whose website says she is originally from Singapore, faced backlash after making statements during a New York club performance that Malaysian Airlines "can't fly" and that Malaysia was behind Singapore after the separation of Malaysia and Singapore in 1965.

Taken together, Interpol's sophisticated network, commitment to international cooperation and innovative methods of identification have earned it a significant role in global law enforcement. All its actions are neutral politically and taken within the ambit of existing laws prevalent in the country concerned.

The agency is fighting a new generation of criminals amid accusations that it has become a tool of dictators.

While Interpol's big innovation of 1935 was an international radio network for the police, today it has "I-24/7", a secure communications network described as "a bit like a private internet just for the police".

Within the framework of laws existing in the various countries and in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the cooperation it enables must take place, according to the constitution of Interpol. But there were reports that authoritarian regimes were abusing the notices to persecute dissidents overseas despite Interpol's constitutional ban on any intervention or activity of a political, military, religious or racial character. It should not allow any outside interference in any form in its day to day functioning and run honestly and judiciously without buckling under any sort of pressure.

  1. Interpol;
  2. Wikipedia
  3. Abusive use of the Interpol system: the need for more stringent legal safeguards, Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, Rapporteur: Mr Bernd FABRITIUS, Germany, EPP/CD, 29 March 2017,
  4. Balancing International Police Cooperation: INTERPOL and the Undesirable Trade-off Between Rights of Individuals and Global Security, Giulio Calcara, 4 October 2020;
  5. Interpol at 100: Does the World's Police Force Work? By Kathy Gilsinan,
  6. Sansad TV Perspective: Interpol- Secure World & Global Responsibility,
  7. Misuse of Interpol's Red Notices and impact on human rights � recent developments;
  8. How can law enforcement officials access and use the INTERPOL notice system? September 6, 2022,
  9. China: How The Government of the PRC Uses Red Notices Improperly to Pursue People (Part 2 of 2), July 28 2023;
  10. Malaysia: Red Notice Sought For Comedian After Joke On 9th Anniversary Of Missing Flight MH370, 31 July, 2023; By Estlund Law, P.A.,
  11. Speed up Red Corner notices: PM Modi.. Raj Shekhar / TNN / Updated: Oct 19, 2022, 07:26 IST

Written By: Md. Imran Wahab,
IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9836576565

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly