I wonder to what degree Interpol agents can take part in the pursuit of an international fugitive. The whole reason Interpol exists is precisely because one country's authorities cannot simply pursue their country's criminals in other countries, generally speaking.

Interpol is international however, presumably meaning their agents can indeed pursue criminals in any of its member countries, right? Well, I don't know; perhaps Interpol's role is merely as a middle man between different countries' law enforcements? How limited is their authority? I understand if this varies greatly, though any general info would be appreciated, and referrals to where one might find out the specific details regarding Interpol's authority in different countries.

So, what can Interpol agents do in different countries when pursuing an international criminal?

  • You very likely mean "prosecute" (institute or conduct legal proceedings against), not "persecute" (subject (someone) to hostility and ill-treatment).
    – TripeHound
    Aug 30, 2023 at 6:44
  • @TripeHound Would pursuing a criminal constitute prosecution? If so, I agree. I thought prosecution was limited to only actions done in and around court. I also thought persecution could be used as a term for actions done against criminals by law enforcement, like pursuit.
    – user110391
    Aug 30, 2023 at 11:14
  • @user110391 In English, “persecute” is mostly used when you’re talking about unfair things.
    – cpast
    Aug 30, 2023 at 12:38
  • @cpast Ah I see, I was afraid it had those connotations. I will think of a new word.
    – user110391
    Aug 30, 2023 at 18:32
  • NATO agent John Drake can do whatever he wants in any country, because he is the Danger Man.
    – davidbak
    Sep 1, 2023 at 3:46

1 Answer 1


What agents?

Contrary to the common idea due to frequent portrayals in popular media, Interpol is not a supranational law enforcement agency and has no agents with arresting powers. Instead, it is an international organization that functions as a network of law enforcement agencies from different countries. The organization thus functions as an administrative liaison among the law enforcement agencies of the member countries, providing communications and database assistance, mostly through its central headquarters in Lyon. along with the assistance of smaller local bureaus in each of its member states.

The way it actually works is that Interpol issues notices. Some of these notices are essentially arrest warrants, and police who receive such notices may arrest the suspect and begin extradition proceedings. They may also decide not to. In any event, police authority is wielded only by a country's own police.

  • Wow, that makes sense but is also a bummer (as far as creating realistic stories goes).
    – user110391
    Aug 30, 2023 at 11:10

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