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Concerns over Interpol’s Notice System Misuse


Recently, there has been growing apprehension regarding the potential misuse of Interpol’s notice system, particularly focusing on the less scrutinized blue corner notices compared to their red counterparts. The number of blue notices has witnessed a significant increase over the past decade, leading to concerns raised by critics who argue that these notices are exploited by countries to target political refugees and dissidents, raising questions about the system’s integrity and purpose.


GS III: Internal Security

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Interpol
  2. Concerns Regarding the Misuse of Interpol Notices: A Focus on Red Notices

About Interpol

  • The International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO), commonly known as INTERPOL, is an international organization that facilitates worldwide police cooperation and crime control.
  • Headquartered in Lyon, it has seven regional bureaus worldwide and a National Central Bureau in all 194 member states, making it the world’s largest police organization.
  • INTERPOL provides investigative support, expertise, and training to law enforcement worldwide, focusing on three major areas of transnational crime: terrorism, cybercrime, and organized crime.
  • Its broad mandate covers virtually every kind of crime, including crimes against humanity, child pornography, drug trafficking and production, political corruption, copyright infringement, and white-collar crime.
  • The agency also facilitates co-operation among national law enforcement institutions through criminal databases and communications networks.
  • Contrary to popular belief, INTERPOL is itself not a law enforcement agency.
  • INTERPOL is mostly funded by annual contributions by member police forces in 181 countries.
  • It is governed by a General Assembly, composed of all member countries, which elects the Executive Committee and the President.
  • Pursuant to its charter, INTERPOL seeks to remain politically neutral in fulfilling its mandate, as it is barred from interventions or activities of a political, military, religious, or racial nature or involving itself in disputes over such matters.
  • The agency operates in four languages: Arabic, English, French, and Spanish.
  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the nodal agency in the INTERPOL for India.
Types of Notices:

Concerns Regarding the Misuse of Interpol Notices: A Focus on Red Notices

Blue Notice vs. Red Notice:

  • Blue Notice: Enquiry notice facilitating the exchange of crime-related information before criminal charges are filed.
  • Red Notice: Issued to apprehend a wanted criminal for extradition or lawful means, targeting individuals sought for prosecution or to serve a sentence.

Interpol’s Broad Authority:

  • Jurisdiction: Interpol can act on requests from any country, regardless of the fugitive’s home country, as long as the alleged crime occurred there.
  • Consequences: The individual may be detained while moving through a member state, with potential adverse outcomes, including freezing of bank accounts.

Controversies Surrounding Red Notices:

  • Political Use: Interpol’s Constitution prohibits activities of a political nature, but concerns arise due to cases like Russia issuing notices for Kremlin opponents, contributing to a significant portion of public red notices.
  • Abuse Allegations: China, Iran, Turkey, and Tunisia, among others, face accusations of exploiting Interpol’s notice system for authoritarian purposes.

Specific Case and Interpol’s Response:

  • India’s Request: Interpol declined India’s second request for a red corner notice against Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, designated a “terrorist” by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the UAPA.
  • Reasoning: Cited inadequate information and highlighted the “clear political dimension” of Pannun’s actions, beyond the scope of a red corner notice under Interpol’s Constitution.

Interpol’s Response to Criticism:

  • Enhanced Supervision: Interpol has strengthened the oversight of its red notice system in response to growing criticism.
  • Persisting Concerns: Despite improvements, concerns linger, particularly related to the issuance of blue notices.

-Source: The Hindu

April 2024