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International Criminal Police Organization - Interpol

The general secretariat of Interpol in Lyon .
English name The International Criminal
Police Organization - Interpol
Organization type international police organization
Seat of the organs Lyon , FranceFranceFrance 
Chair GermanyGermany Jürgen Stock
(General Secretary)

Korea SouthSouth Korea Kim Jong Yang

Member States 194 :

Map of the member states of Interpol 2018.svg Member States

Official and working languages

English, French,
Arabic, Spanish



The International Criminal Police Organization - Interpol , shortly ICPO , ICPO-Interpol , Interpol (of English Inter national Criminal Pol ice Organization ), is an association to strengthen cooperation between national police authorities. It was founded in 1923 as the International Criminal Police Commission in Vienna and has its seat in Lyon . Interpol currently has 194 member states .

The processing of data at Interpol is monitored by an independent commission in accordance with Art. 36 of the Interpol statutes. It consists of five people who meet three times a year. It examines complaints, requests for access to files and databases and makes recommendations as to whether a search should be continued.


Goals, functions and funding

The largest police organization in the world is legally an association, registered under French private law - it is not based on any international treaty, and no parliament has ever ratified the activities of Interpol. There is no external control over Interpol. The task of Interpol is to provide comprehensive support to all criminal police authorities and other institutions that can help prevent or combat crime , taking into account national laws and human rights .

The main functions of the organization are ensuring a global communication system, providing databases for information processing, notifying member states of wanted persons, coordinating mutual support measures by sending technical specialists and making equipment available (technical assistance), and promoting international cooperation in the areas of research, education and training, equipment, use of personnel and aids.

Until 2011, Interpol was financed almost exclusively by annual payments from the Member States, the budget for 2008 was 47.6 million euros . Under Ronald Noble - Interpol General Secretary from 2000 to 2014 - the financing model was changed from 2011. Interpol u. a. received from FIFA , Philip Morris and the pharmaceutical industry . An agreement for US $ 10 million was signed with the organizing committee of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar .


General Assembly

The General Assembly is Interpol's highest body . Each member state has one vote; a simple majority is sufficient for votes; a two-thirds majority is required for changes to the statutes. The General Assembly meets at least once a year; an extraordinary convocation is possible. All important decisions are made about the general procedure, resources, methods, finances and programs. The composition of the Executive Committee is also determined in the General Assembly. The Executive Committee consists of a President , three Vice-Presidents and nine delegates from the General Assembly. The main task of the Executive Committee is to oversee the implementation of decisions of the General Assembly and the administration of the Secretary General . Other tasks are the preparation of meetings of the General Assembly, the submission of programs to them and the processing of assigned responsibilities.

No. date place Source / remark
88 October 15-18, 2019 ChileChile Santiago de Chile
87 November 18-21, 2018 United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates Dubai
86 September 26-29, 2017 China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China Beijing
85 November 7-10, 2016 IndonesiaIndonesia Bali (Indonesia)
84 November 2nd to 5th, 2015 RwandaRwanda Kigali
83 3rd to 7th November 2014 MonacoMonaco Monaco
82 October 21 to 24, 2013 ColombiaColombia Cartagena
81 November 5th to 8th, 2012 ItalyItaly Rome
80 October 31 to November 3, 2011 VietnamVietnam Hanoi  
79 November 8-11, 2010 QatarQatar Doha  
78 October 11-15, 2009 SingaporeSingapore Singapore
77 October 7-10, 2008 RussiaRussia St. Petersburg  
76 November 5th to 8th, 2007 MoroccoMorocco Marrakech  
75 September 19-22, 2006 BrazilBrazil Rio de Janeiro  
74 September 19-22, 2005 GermanyGermany Berlin Host Federal Criminal Police Office
73 October 5-8, 2004 MexicoMexico Cancun
72 September 29th to October 2nd, 2003 SpainSpain Benidorm  
71 October 21-24, 2002 CameroonCameroon Yaoundé  
70 September 24-28, 2001 HungaryHungary Budapest  
69 October 30 to November 4, 2000 GreeceGreece Rhodes  
68 November 8-12, 1999 Korea SouthSouth Korea Seoul  
67 October 22-27, 1998 EgyptEgypt Cairo  
66 October 15-21, 1997 IndiaIndia New Delhi  
65 October 23-29, 1996 TurkeyTurkey Antalya  

General Secretariat

The General Secretariat is based in Lyon and is the main body for practical work. It is headed by the Secretary General , who appoints the specialist and administrative staff selected by him. The daily administration of international police cooperation and decisions are carried out in the General Secretariat. The General Secretariat acts as the central coordination point between the national central offices.

National Central Office

Each member state has to appoint a National Central Bureau / LZB. This serves the coordination between Interpol and the individual states. To this end, the office needs to provide links with the country's authorities, other national offices and the General Secretariat. In some countries the function of the national central office / state central office is performed by the domestic central office for criminal investigation. In other countries, however, a separate department has been set up only for the Interpol area of ​​responsibility, for example in the USA . In Germany and Austria , the respective Federal Criminal Police Office ( BKA and BK ) also acts as the National Central Office / State Central Office.

The advisers are mostly internationally recognized experts.

Notices and Diffusions

With regard to search requests, a distinction is made between notices (notices for searches) and diffusions ("announcements"). Tenders are sent to Interpol centrally by the member states or the accredited international organizations and distributed from there to the other members. In contrast, messages from the initiating country are delivered directly to the desired countries and Interpol also records them in the databases. Both types of search requests are divided into seven categories and are also called "colored corners" according to the color categorization - so for the individual types, for example, "red corner" or "yellow corner".

Notice category German name Details
Red Notice Red alert Request for arrest or provisional arrest with the aim of extradition.
Blue Notice Blue alert Gathering additional information about a person's identity or activities in relation to a crime.
Green Notice Green tender Providing warnings and forensic information about people who have committed crimes and are likely to repeat them in other countries.
Yellow Notice Yellow alert Help locate missing people, often young people, or help identify people who cannot identify themselves.
Black Notice Black tender Search for information regarding unidentified bodies.
Orange Notice Orange tender Warns police and other international organizations of potential threats from hidden weapons, package bombs, or other dangerous material.
Purple Notice Purple tender Dissemination of information on modus operandi (method of operation), criminal methods, objects, devices and hiding places.
Interpol-United Nations Security Council Special Notice United Nations Interpol Special Invitation to tender Issued to groups and individuals who are the target of UN sanctions against al-Qaeda or the Taliban .


The history of the commission (19th century to 1914)

In the 19th century, the successive expansion of the modern state into non-state areas of society resulted in constant crises . These were further reinforced by socialist parties and movements. Countless assassinations of the ruling class and the upper classes in almost all European countries spread the impression of an anarchist world conspiracy and the first major international police cooperation meeting took place at the Rome conference in 1898. For many statesmen, socialism and anarchism were equated . These circumstances were a prerequisite for international police cooperation.

In the history of the criminal police , the fight against common crime is the dominant cause. In particular, faster means of transport should have enabled criminals to evade jurisdiction. However, the technical development in the field of communication and transport was the prerequisite for adequate police cooperation. The scientist John Tobias argues that the faster transportation and better communication helped the fight against crime. Even if his study is limited to England , it can be assumed that this was the case everywhere. In April 1914, the First International Police Congress was held in Monaco , which is considered to be the forerunner of the International Criminal Police Commission (IKPK). The intentions and more detailed information are unknown.

From the first foundation to the first end (1919–1945)

At the end of 1919, the captain of the Dutch Marechaussee , van Houten, tried unsuccessfully with a letter to the most important police authorities to convene a conference on the fight against international crime. Four years later, the Vienna Police President Johann Schober managed to hold an International Police Congress in Vienna. The reason given is the increase in crime after the world war .

In addition, Schober had ideal qualifications for this job, such as experience in foreign policy and diplomatic training. His information policy as the Viennese police chief was extremely aggressive; in 1920 he set up his own police intelligence service with political objectives. "In an instruction he pointed out that it was by no means just about potential troublemakers, but without exception all politically active persons and groups." It is worth mentioning that the intelligence service had no funds for a foreign intelligence service. Nevertheless, it was possible to establish a kind of anti-communist Interpol. It is therefore doubtful whether the intentions of Schober (and other participants) at the conference were limited to the “fight against common crime”.

The International Criminal Police Commission (IKPK) was founded in Vienna in 1923 . On September 3rd, the first meeting took place at the Vienna Police Headquarters. The protocol on future cooperation was signed by representatives from 16 European countries, the United States and Japan. The decision to found the IKPK was passed on September 7, 1923. The question arises for what purposes the IKPK was used. According to political scientist Heiner Busch, Vienna was chosen as the headquarters of the IKPK because of Schober's personality; another aspect is likely to have been the experience and the archive of the former kuk offices.

The main activity of the IKPK was the processing and transmission of messages received, which is why the police radio system was promoted. Central offices for combating counterfeiting and identifying people have also been set up.

Even after Dollfuss came to power and the establishment of the Austrian corporate state , the organization continued to exist. After the annexation and integration of Austria into the Third Reich , the previous Interpol President Michael Skubl was deposed and placed under house arrest. His successor was the Austrian National Socialist Otto Steinhäusl . After his early death, the seat of the IKPK was relocated from Vienna to Berlin-Wannsee and subordinated to the Reich Security Main Office . The Wannsee Conference on the “ Final Solution to the Jewish Question ” took place in one of the two houses used by the IKPK . In Berlin the IKPK was presided over by SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich , after his death by an assassination attempt by the Czech resistance in Prague by SS-Obergruppenführer Ernst Kaltenbrunner , who was executed in Nuremberg after the war . The files of the IKPK that were transferred to Berlin, such as the so-called international gypsy registry, but also the files relating to counterfeiting and forgery of passports were helpful for the National Socialists in the persecution of certain groups of people, as well as in their mass production of counterfeit money and false passports in the concentration camp Sachsenhausen near Berlin. With the Control Council Act No. 31 of July 1, 1946, the "German police offices and agencies of a political nature" were dissolved.

From the new IKPK to the IKPO (1946–1956)

The International Criminal Police Commission (IKPK) was dissolved in 1945 and re-established a year later on the initiative of the Inspector General of the Belgian Police, Florent Louwage . New statutes were established. The exact reasons and circumstances for the start-up are unknown or are not mentioned. Anderson argues that international police cooperation was urgently needed due to the black market and displaced persons. But the question arises as to what help the IKPK should provide here. The intention of the new establishment must be seen in the context of the East-West conflict , whereby the IKPK wanted to maintain a profile that was as non-political as possible. Likewise, the previous dissolution was supposed to emphasize the distance to the IKPK during the interim and wartime.

Paris was chosen as the new seat ; this led to the dominance of the French police for several decades. Human rights were incorporated into the statutes and adapted to international law , and exclusive cooperation in the area of ​​ordinary crime was established. There was also a successful rapprochement with the UN , in 1949 the IKPK received the consultative status of the UN as a non-governmental organization . The number of members increased quickly, but the IKPK remained dominated by Europe.

In 1950 the depoliticization had little effect against the background of the East-West conflict. The hijacking of three airliners prompted the ČSSR to request Interpol's cooperation. For the General Secretariat, this was a criminal act. However, the Vice President of the IKPK and Director of the FBI , J. Edgar Hoover , viewed the kidnappers as political refugees , so cooperation under the Interpol statutes would not be permitted in this case. This was followed by the official exit of the USA and almost all Eastern Bloc countries , with the USA again being represented in the IKPK by the Treasury from 1952.

Internationalization and legal status (1956–1984)

In 1956 the company was re-established, a new name was chosen and the short telegram address Interpol was added to the name. Interpol became international through a series of treaties and agreements and was granted legal entity status . This was especially by obtaining the status of an intergovernmental organization by the UN in 1971 and by the Headquarters Agreement ( Headquarters Agreement reached) with France the following year. This was revised ten years later and required an independent data protection authority to monitor it. In the 1970s, the Interpol was heavily criticized, the points of criticism were the lack of participation in the fight against terrorism and the slow communication.

The Interpol president from 1968 to 1972, Paul Dickopf , was sworn in as an SS man under the National Socialists and after the war he set up the Federal Criminal Police Office in Wiesbaden together with other former SS police officers.

Terrorism and Information Technology (1984–2002)

The shortcomings that existed in the 1970s were largely eliminated in the 1980s. In 1984 there was a change in relation to politically motivated crimes, particularly in the area of terrorism . The General Assembly passed a resolution. This provides that the political evaluation of criminal offenses is at the discretion of the nation state. On the occasion of the upcoming move to Lyon in 1989, the general secretariat was reorganized.

The information infrastructure was expanded, and in 1990 a communication system was set up to exchange data with the national central offices. The systems were improved and expanded in the following years. Since 2002 almost all national central offices have been connected to the Interpol headquarters via the Interpol Global Communication System 24/7 (I-24/7). In 1997 a cooperation agreement was signed with the UN, which grants Interpol observer status in the UN.

Meaning and effect

Postage stamp: 50 years of Interpol, postage stamp from 1973 (design: Karl Oskar Blase ).

In the age of international networking, the Interpol General Secretariat is becoming increasingly important as a collection point for international databases. There are databases for stolen vehicles and IDs under the name ASF (Automated Search Facility). Another database for DNA profiles obtained from crime scene traces or oral swabs from suspects is currently under construction. After the flood disaster in South Asia on December 26, 2004, Interpol helped identify victims from all over the world, particularly in Thailand.

In contrast to many representations in crime novels, there are no Interpol agents of their own who pursue criminals in foreign countries and investigate them independently. Interpol does not have its own investigators, but only coordinates the cooperation of national investigators. The principle of national sovereignty applies . Police executive measures such as stopping, arresting, carrying service weapons or inspecting the criminal record may only be taken by security officers of the respective state. Even if foreign police officers only come to take over an inmate at the airport in the course of an extradition, they must ask for permission if they want to carry weapons. The same applies to the transit of prisoners who cannot be transported directly from one foreign country to another. Considerations as they are currently employed at Europol , whether police officers should also be given executive powers abroad (keyword EuroCOP), are not an issue at Interpol.

Another misunderstanding is the assumption that a request from an Interpol member state to search for people for arrest is equivalent to an international arrest warrant . However, it is up to each country to deal with notices and diffusions - i.e. to write out the wanted person for arrest in Germany or to view the Interpol announcement merely as a notification of knowledge. The latter is often the case when there is no bilateral extradition agreement with the requesting country .

It is difficult to make a statement about the importance and impact of Interpol. The problem is the extremely questionable activity of the ICPK and the long-term limited activity of the ICPO in politically motivated crimes. The importance and impact of Interpol is the pioneering work in the field of international police cooperation, especially in the technical and legal area. For the fight against terrorism the Interpol could not contribute due to the late change to the organizational policy in this area established their own organizations.

The Interpol statutes actually prohibit assistance with politically motivated crimes and military or religious matters - a prerequisite for smooth cooperation between states with different political systems and religions . This principle came about a. to be used when Italy asked to be searched for the South Tyrol activists of the 1960s. This has changed especially since a resolution in 1984 (see history).


In February 2012, Interpol came under fire because, contrary to its statutes, it was allegedly involved in the extradition of the journalist Hamsa Kaschgari , who was critical of religion, to Saudi Arabia . Interpol denies having issued a search alert against Kashgari.

In the summer of 2013, Interpol came under fire for accepting multi-million dollar cooperation agreements with industry. The contracts concluded between 2011 and 2013 with FIFA , the tobacco company Philip Morris and 29 pharmaceutical companies such as Sanofi , which account for 26 percent of Interpol's budget of 78 million euros, were mainly due to the lack of transparency and the disregard for possible conflicts of interest the prosecution of criminals criticized.

See also


  • Malcolm Anderson: Policing the World: Interpol and the Politics of International Police Co-operation . Clarendon, Oxford 1989, ISBN 0-19-827597-8 .
  • Christoph Arbeithuber: The International Criminal Police Organization. INTERPOL. Dissertation. Linz 1996.
  • Nadia Gerspacher: The Roles of International Police Cooperation Organizations. In: European Journal of Crime, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, 13 (2005) pp. 413–434.
  • Michael Fooner: INTERPOL: Issues in World Crime and International Criminal Justice. Plenum, New York 1989, ISBN 0-306-43135-1 .
  • J. Jäger: Prosecution by Administration. International crime and international police cooperation 1880-1933. UVK, Constance 2006.
  • R. Kendall (Ed.): Interpol: 75 Years of International Police Co-operation. Kensington, London 1998.
  • Rutsel Silvestre J. Martha: The Legal Foundations of INTERPOL. Hart, Oxford / Portland 2010, ISBN 978-1-84946-040-8 .
  • Albrecht Randelzhofer : Legal protection against measures by INTERPOL before German courts ?. In: Ingo von Münch (ed.): Constitutional law - international law - European law: Festschrift for Hans-Jürgen Schlochauer . Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1981, ISBN 3-11-008118-0 , pp. 531-555.

Web links

Wiktionary: Interpol  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Interpol  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Member Countries (World). In: Accessed August 19, 2018 (English).
  2. Kosovo not included in the Interpol police organization. In: The Standard . November 20, 2018. Retrieved November 24, 2018 .
  3. see, legal material
  4. a b c Lena Kampf: Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin , January 17, 2015.
  5. Albrecht Randelzhofer: Legal protection against measures by INTERPOL before German courts? , in: Ingo von Münch (Ed.): Staatsrecht - Völkerrecht - European law: Festschrift for Hans-Jürgen Schlochauer , Walter de Gruyter: Berlin 1981, pp. 531–555. ISBN 3-11-008118-0 .
  6. ICPO-INTERPOL Constitution and General Regulations ( Memento of February 24, 2008), Article 2
  7. a b Robert Schmidt, Mathieu Martiniere: When the world police deal with the FIFA. In: . March 20, 2018, accessed July 30, 2019 .
  8. INTERPOL: an overview ( memento of the original from January 11, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  9. ICPO-INTERPOL Constitution and General Regulations ( Memento of 24 February 2008), The General Assembly
  10. Interpol General Assembly ( Memento of August 3, 2012 in the web archive )
  11. ICPO-INTERPOL Constitution and General Regulations ( Memento of 24 February 2008), The Executive Committee
  12. ICPO-INTERPOL Constitution and General Regulations ( Memento of February 24, 2008), Article 22
  13. 85th INTERPOL General Assembly in Bali. November 15, 2016, accessed January 10, 2019 .
  16. ( Memento from August 11, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  17. ( Memento from June 29, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  18. ( Memento from September 14, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  19. Interpol Secretary General ( Memento of October 24, 2005 in the Internet Archive )
  20. ICPO-INTERPOL Constitution and General Regulations ( Memento of 24 February 2008), National Central Bureaus
  21. US National Central Bureau. US Department of Justice [1]
  22. International Notices System (Engl.) ( Memento of 13 July 2012 at the Internet Archive ) (PDF, 1.02 MB)
  23. Mathieu Deflem: History of International Police Cooperation. in Encyclopedia of Criminology , edited by Richard A. Wright and J. Mitchell Miller. New York: Routledge, 2005 Available Online ( Memento of October 18, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  24. "First of all, it should be noted that cooperation against common political opponents and not against common crime was at the beginning of international police cooperation." Heiner Busch: Boundless Police? P. 264.
  25. Hans Hoeveler: International action against crime. Pp. 9-29.
  26. ^ Kurt Schaefer: International fight against crime. Pp. 31-35.
  27. ^ John Tobias: Crime and Industrial Society in the 19th century. P. 192.
  28. ^ Rainer Hubert: Schober. P. 163.
  29. Gerhard Jagschitz : The Political Central Registration Office of the Federal Police Directorate Vienna. In: Austrian Society for Contemporary History: Yearbook for Contemporary History 1978 , pp. 73–75.
  30. Extract from the statutes of the IKPK 1923. In: Hoeveler. P. 36.
  31. Alexander Elster, Rudolf Sieverts (editor): Handwortbuch der Kriminologie , Volume 4, ISBN 978-3-11-008093-3 , p. 60. Restricted preview in the Google book search
  32. Werner Sabitzer: The history of Interpol. Website of the Vienna State Police Directorate, accessed on 23 August 2018.
  33. Thomas Huonker, Willi Wottreng : “We do not tolerate gypsies”. World Week , February 1, 2001.
  34. Control Council Act No. 31 ( Memento of August 23, 2018 in the Internet Archive ) Police offices and agencies of a political nature from July 1, 1946., accessed on August 23, 2018.
  35. INTERPOL history ( Memento from June 4, 2012 in the web archive )
  36. “The formal depoliticization of the organization since 1946 and its adaptation to international law has been the essential prerequisite for its rise to a truly international organization.” Busch: p. 276.
  37. Anderson: p. 44; see. Busch, p. 277, on the other hand, writes of only one airliner, Busch quotes Anderson and another work.
  38. Anderson: p. 44 (see 32); see. Busch: p. 277 writes here of "freedom fighters" .
  39. ^ Brief History of INTERPOL ( Memento of June 4, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  40. Violent Crime Commonly Referred to as Terrorism ( Memento from December 12, 2004 in the Internet Archive )
  41. ICPO-INTERPOL Constitution and General Regulations ( Memento of February 24, 2008), Article 3
  42. ^ Co-operation agreement between the United Nations and the International Criminal Police Organization-Interpol ( Memento of December 11, 2004 in the Internet Archive ), Article 6.1
  43. PDF
  44. Interpol accused after journalist arrested over Muhammad tweet. In: The Guardian . February 10, 2012, accessed February 13, 2012.
  45. ^ Robert Schmidt and Mathieu Martiniere: Interpol: Who is helping whom here? In: October 21, 2013, accessed December 15, 2014 .
  46. ^ Robert Schmidt and Mathieu Martiniere: Tobacco Industry: Interpol, the Lobby and Money. In: June 7, 2013, accessed December 15, 2014 .

Coordinates: 45 ° 46 ′ 58.1 ″  N , 4 ° 50 ′ 54.2 ″  E