What is in INTERPOL’s constitution?

All INTERPOL activity, including all communications over its network, must respect its Constitution and subsidiary rules adopted by the general assembly, including its Rules on the Processing of Data (RPD). All of INTERPOL’s foundational documents and other relevant legal documents can be reviewed on INTERPOL’s website.

The purpose of the Constitution and subsidiary rules is to ensure that INTERPOL is used only against “ordinary-law crime,” and is not involved in politics, or for purposes of a political, and therefore illegitimate, persecution.

In this way, INTERPOL is supposed to be beholden to a general principle also contained in U.S. asylum law, which establishes that while any country has the right to prosecute its own citizens, it must do so for legitimate purposes.

The Constitution’s most-cited portions are its Article 2, which requires that international police cooperation be conducted within the “spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” and, in particular, its Article 3, sometimes referred to as the neutrality clause, which states that it is “strictly forbidden for the Organization [INTERPOL] to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious, or racial character.”

INTERPOL cannot stop its sovereign member nations from creating and prosecuting political offenses. All it can and is required to do by its Constitution is ensure that it is used only in connection with genuinely criminal offenses.