Foreign Policy Watch: United Nations

Are INTERPOL Blue Corner Notices being Politically Exploited?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: INTERPOL

Mains level: Read the attached story


Why in the News?

Concerns arise over the misuse of Interpol notices, especially blue corner notices, raising issues about balancing police cooperation and preventing abuse of power.

About INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization)

  • Established in Vienna, Austria (1923), it enables cross-border police cooperation and supports and assists all organizations, authorities and services whose mission is to prevent or combat international crime.
  • An inter-governmental organization comprising 195 member countries,
  • Facilitates better coordination among police forces globally
  • Enables member countries to share and access data on crimes and criminals
  • Offers technical and operational support to member countries
  • Manages 19 police databases containing information on crimes and criminals, accessible in real-time
  • Provides investigative support, including forensics, analysis, and assistance in locating fugitives worldwide.
  • Run by a Secretary General
  • Headquarters located in Lyon, France
  • Global complex for innovation based in Singapore
  • Several satellite offices in different regions.
India’s Membership
  • Joined in June 1956.
Functioning in Member Countries
  • Each member country has a National Central Bureau (NCB), serving as the central point of contact for the general secretariat and other NCBs worldwide
  • NCBs are typically managed by police officials and situated in the government ministry responsible for policing (e.g., MHA in India)
  • Interpol’s databases contain various information, from names and fingerprints to stolen passports, accessible in real-time to member countries
  • Provides investigative support to member countries, aiding in forensic analysis and locating fugitives globally.


What are Blue Corner Notice?

  • Types of Notices: Interpol issues seven types of notices, including Blue Notice.
  • Purpose: Blue corner notice, also known as an “enquiry notice,” facilitates sharing critical crime-related information, including criminal records verification and locating individuals.
  • Example: In January 2020, Interpol issued a blue corner notice to locate fugitive Nithyananda, a self-styled godman.

Distinguishing Blue from Red Corner Notice

  • Red Corner Notice: It is issued by a member state for the arrest of a wanted criminal, often following criminal convictions, allowing arrests in any member state.
  • Difference: Blue notices precede criminal charges, while red notices typically follow convictions. Red notices enable arrests and other consequences like bank account closures, while blue notices facilitate information exchange.

Examples of Notice Issuance

  • Red Corner Notice: In 2018, a red corner notice was issued against Nirav Modi for the Punjab National Bank scam.
  • Interpol’s Decision: However, in October 2022, Interpol rejected India’s request for a red notice against Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, citing insufficient information and political dimensions.

Concerns of Misuse

  • Political Misuse: Despite Interpol’s prohibition on political activities, concerns persist regarding its enforcement.
  • Instances: Russia, China, Iran, Turkey, and Tunisia face accusations of abusing Interpol notices for political purposes.
  • Criticism: While Interpol tightened oversight of red notices, vulnerabilities remain, especially with blue notices, which experts suggest are less scrutinized before publication.

Debates on Notice Issuance

  • Turkey’s Argument: Countries like Turkey argue against excessive restraint in notice issuance, citing hampered police cooperation and sovereignty concerns.
  • Global Response: International human rights groups call for stricter enforcement of Interpol’s rules to prevent authoritarian exploitation.

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