The Interpol has rejected a second request by India to issue a Red Notice against Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the Canada-based founder and legal advisor of the pro-Khalistan outfit Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), whom the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has listed as a “terrorist” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
What is the Interpol?
- The Interpol, or International Criminal Police Organization, is an inter-governmental organisation comprising 195 member countries, which helps police forces in all these countries to better coordinate their actions.
- According to the Interpol website, the organisation enables member countries to share and access data on crimes and criminals, and offers a range of technical and operational support.
- The Interpol general secretariat coordinates the organisation’s day-to-day activities.
- It is run by a secretary general (currently Jurgen Stock of Germany, who has been Interpol’s chief executive since 2014), with its headquarters in Lyon, France, with a global complex for innovation in Singapore, and several satellite offices in different regions.
- Interpol has a National Central Bureau (NCB) in each member country, which is the central point of contact for both the general secretariat and the other NCBs around the world.
- Each NCB is run by police officials of that country, and usually sits in the government ministry responsible for policing. (Home Ministry in India.)
- Interpol manages 19 police databases with information on crimes and criminals (from names and fingerprints to stolen passports), accessible in real-time to countries.
- It also offers investigative support such as forensics, analysis, and assistance in locating fugitives around the world, according to the Interpol website.
What is a Red Notice?
- Criminals or suspects often flee to other countries to evade facing justice.
- A Red Corner Notice, or Red Notice (RN) alerts police forces across the world about fugitives who are wanted internationally.
- Interpol says “Red Notices are issued for fugitives wanted either for prosecution or to serve a sentence.
- A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action.”
- RNs contain information that helps identify wanted persons, such as their names, dates of birth, nationality, and physical attributes such as the colour of their hair and eyes, as well as pictures and biometric data such as fingerprints, if they are available. RNs also mention the crime(s) they are wanted for.
- An RN is published by Interpol at the request of a member country.
- The fugitives may be wanted for prosecution or to serve a sentence. The country issuing the request need not be the home country of the fugitive; Interpol acts on the request of a country where the alleged crime has been committed.
- The number of valid RNs which are not public is several times more.
- These RNs are restricted for use by law enforcement authorities only.
- An RN is published on Interpol’s website only in cases where the help of the public is needed to locate an individual, or if those individuals pose a threat to public safety.
Is an RN a warrant of arrest?
- An RN is only an international wanted persons’ notice; it is not an international arrest warrant. Interpol itself does not want individuals; they are wanted by a country or an international tribunal.
- This means the Interpol cannot compel law enforcement authorities in any country to arrest the subject of an RN. It is up to individual member countries to decide what legal value to give to an RN, and the authority of their national law enforcement officers to make arrests.
- The Interpol says that an RN must comply with its constitution and rules. It says on its website that “every Red Notice request is checked by a specialised task force to ensure it is compliant with (Interpol) rules”.
- The Interpol argues that an RN is issued only after a competent court has taken cognisance of a chargesheet against the fugitive.
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