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Interpol headquarters in Lyon, France.
Interpol, whose full name is the International Criminal Police Organization – INTERPOL, is an organization facilitating international police cooperation. It was established as the International Criminal Police Commission in 1923 and adopted its telegraphic address as its common name in 1956.

Its membership of 188 countries provides finance of around $59 million through annual contributions. The organization's headquarters are in Lyonmarker, Francemarker. It is the second largest intergovernmental organization after the United Nations.

Its current Secretary-General is Ronald Noble, formerly of the United States Treasurymarker.Jackie Selebi, National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, was president from 2004 but resigned on 13 January 2008, later being charged in South Africa on three counts of corruption and one of defeating the course of justice. He was replaced by Arturo Herrera Verdugo, current National Commissioner of Policía de Investigaciones de Chilemarker and former vice president for the American Zone, who remained acting president until the organization meeting in October 2008, and was subsequently replaced by Commissioner of Police Singapore Police Forcemarker, Khoo Boon Hui.

In order to maintain as politically neutral a role as possible, Interpol's constitution forbids its involvement in crimes that do not overlap several member countries, or in any political, military, religious, or racial crimes. Its work focuses primarily on public safety, terrorism, organized crime, crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes, Piracy, illicit drug production, drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, human trafficking, money laundering, child pornography, white-collar crime, computer crime, intellectual property crime and corruption.

In 2005, the Interpol General Secretariat employed a staff of 502, representing 78 member countries. The Interpol public website received an average of 2.2 million page visits every month. The Interpol's red notices for the year led to the arrests of 3,500 people.


Interpol was founded in Austriamarker in 1923 as the International Criminal Police (ICP). Following the Anschluss (Austria's annexation by Nazi Germany) in 1938, the organization fell under the control of Nazi Germany and the Commission's headquarters were eventually moved to Berlinmarker in 1942. It is unclear, however, if and to what extent the ICPC files were used to further the goals of the Nazi regime. However, from 1938 to 1945, the presidents of Interpol included Otto Steinhäusl (a general in the SSmarker), Reinhard Heydrich (a general in the SS, and chair of the Wannsee Conferencemarker that appointed Heydrich the chief executor of the "Final solution to the Jewish question"), Arthur Nebe (a general in the SS, and Einsatzgruppenmarker leader, under whose command at least 46,000 people were killed), and Ernst Kaltenbrunner (a general in the SS, the highest ranking SS officer executed after the Nuremberg Trialmarker).

After the end of World War II in 1945, the organization was revived as the International Criminal Police Organization by European Allies of World War II officials from Belgiummarker, Francemarker, Scandinavia and the United Kingdommarker. Its new headquarters were established in Saint-Cloud, a town on the outskirts of Parismarker. They remained there until 1989, when they were moved to their present location, Lyonmarker.


Each member country maintains a National Central Bureau (NCB) staffed by national law enforcement officers. The NCB is the designated contact point for the Interpol General Secretariat, regional bureau and other member countries requiring assistance with overseas investigations and the location and apprehension of fugitives. This is especially important in countries with many law-enforcement agencies. This central bureau is a unique point of contact for foreign entities, which may not understand the complexity of the law-enforcement system of the country they attempt to contact. For instance, the NCB for the United States of Americamarker is housed at the United States Department of Justicemarker (DOJ). The NCB then ensures the proper transmission of information to the correct agency.

Interpol maintains a large database charting unsolved crimes and both convicted and alleged criminals. At any time, a member nation has access to specific sections of the database and its police forces are encouraged to check information held by Interpol whenever a major crime is committed. The rationale behind this is that drug traffickers and similar criminals have international ties, and so it is likely that crimes extend beyond political boundaries.

In 2002, following United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 passed in the aftermath of September 11, Interpol began maintaining a database of lost and stolen identification and travel documents, allowing member countries to be alerted to the true nature of such documents when presented. Passport fraud, for example, is often performed by altering a stolen passport; in response, several member countries have worked to make online queries into the stolen document database part of their standard operating procedure in border control departments. As of early 2006, the database contained over ten million identification items reported lost or stolen, and is expected to grow more as more countries join the list of those reporting into the database.


In accordance with the definition provided on the Interpol website:
"Extradition is the process by which one State (the requested State) surrenders an individual found on its territory to another State (the requesting State) where he is wanted either to stand trial for an offence he is alleged to have committed, or to serve a penal sentence already pronounced against him."

A preliminary condition for extradition is that the individual is to be prosecuted: if (s)he is merely wanted to give evidence as a witness, the matter must be settled by a so-named letter rogatory and not by extradition.

Extradition can be done by international courtesy based on the principle of reciprocity, or based on the extradition law that has two legal sources: international law and national legislation. The latter may be bilateral extradition treaties or multilateral extradition conventions, such as the European Convention on Extradition, the Commonwealth Scheme for the Rendition of Fugitive Offenders, the Arab League Extradition Convention, the Interamerican Extradition Convention and the Economic Community of West African States Extradition Convention, or other international conventions that incorporate provisions relating to extradition law.

The basic principles of extradition law are as follows:
  • Influence of nationality on extradition, meaning that many States do not extradite their own nationals, but place them on trial based on their own laws, in application of the principle 'Aut tradere, aut judicare' (either extradite or judge).
  • Nature of the extraditable offence. In this respect, political offences may not give rise to extradition.
  • Double criminality, meaning that extraditable offences are only those punishable in the requesting State, and would have been punishable in the requested State if committed there. By extension of this principle, extradition may be refused if the time limit for prosecution in the requested State has expired. This principle is gradually losing ground.
  • 'Non bis in idem': extradition must be refused if the individual whose extradition is requested has already been tried for the same offence. However, if the individual has been pardoned, he may – under the terms of some recent extradition treaties – be tried again.
  • Specificity: the person whose extradition has been requested may only be prosecuted, tried or detained for those offences that provided grounds for extradition or those committed subsequent to extradition. If an individual has been extradited in application of a judgment, only the penalty imposed by the decision for which extradition was granted may be enforced. The principle of speciality means that an individual may only be tried for the offences cited in the extradition request, on the basis of the definition of the offences applicable at that time. If the requesting State discovers, subsequent to extradition, that offences had been committed prior to that date and those offences should give rise to prosecution, it may ask the requested State for authorization to prosecute the extradited person for the new offences (this constitutes a request for extension of extradition).
  • Capital punishment. If the requested State does not apply the death penalty to its own nationals who are to stand trial, or if it does not carry out the death penalty even though it is one of the penalties that may be applicable, the requested State may refuse extradition if the person whose extradition is requested is likely to be sentenced to death in the requesting State. However, extradition may be granted if the requesting State provides sufficient assurance that the death penalty will not be carried out.

The extradition procedure in the requested State may be one of three types:
  • Purely administrative;
  • Purely judicial;
  • A combination of both judicial and administrative: this is the most frequent type.

Depending on extradition laws, there are two kinds of examination:
  • an examination of the documents submitted with the extradition request, the purpose of which is to verify whether the formal conditions for extradition have been met (this is the system in 'Continental-law' countries);
  • an examination of the substance of the case, and of the evidence to determine whether there is 'reasonable and probable cause' (this is the system in common-law countries).

Member states and sub-bureaus

Sub-bureaus shown in italics.

Secretaries-general and presidents

Secretaries-general since organization's inception in 1923:
Oskar Dressler to 1946 Louis Ducloux to 1951 Marcel Sicot to 1963 Jean Népote to 1978 André Bossard to 1985 Raymond Kendall to 2000 Ronald Noble since 2000

since organization's inception in 1923:
Johann Schober to 1932 Franz Brandl to 1934 Eugen Seydel to 1935 Michael Skubl to 1938 Otto Steinhäusl to 1940 Reinhard Heydrich to 1942 Arthur Nebe to 1943 Ernst Kaltenbrunner to 1945 Florent Louwage to 1956 Agostinho Lourenço to 1960 Richard Jackson to 1963 Fjalar Jarva to 1964 Firmin Franssen to 1968 Paul Dickopf to 1972 William Leonard Higgitt to 1976 Carl Persson to 1980 Jolly Bugarin to 1984 John Simpson to 1988 Ivan Barbot to 1992 Norman Inkster to 1994 Björn Eriksson to 1996 Toshinori Kanemoto to 2000 Jesús Espigares Mira to 2004 Jackie Selebi to 2008 Arturo Herrera Verdugo acting president until the General Assembly in Saint Petersburg in October 2008, and candidate for the President on that General Assembly Khoo Boon Hui since Oct 2008

Non-member countries

(Republic of China)

See also


  1. About INTERPOL
  2. INTERPOL President Jackie Selebi resigns from post
  3. About INTERPOL
  4. ICPO-INTERPOL Constitution and General Regulations. ICPO constitution, article 3.
  5. Extradition - some benchmarks Extradition - some benchmarks

External links

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