Interpol has a new president after an unusually contentious vote. Here’s a look at how the international police agency works:
WHAT IT IS
Interpol is an international body that connects police from 194 countries. A country hunting a terrorist, drug trafficker or other criminal outside its borders can use Interpol’s “red notice” and other systems to alert police in other countries and seek arrests.
Interpol also coordinates cross-border police operations, for example to break up human trafficking networks or pedophile online pornography rings. It’s funded by member governments.
WHAT IT ISN’T
Interpol, based in the French city of Lyon, doesn’t have its own police force. Instead, it has experts and senior officials who coordinate police officers in various countries. Interpol doesn’t have the power to arrest or prosecute anyone — that job falls to national authorities.
WHO RUNS IT
Interpol’s operations are run by the secretary general, currently German police official Juergen Stock. Interpol also has a president who plays a less hands-on role, presiding over the organization’s general assembly and executive committee and in charge of general oversight.
The new president is South Korean Kim Jong Yang, who defeated Russian Alexander Prokopchuk in Wednesday’s vote amid U.S.-led warnings that Russia would try to use the position to hunt down political opponents and fugitive dissidents. Interpol’s charter says the organization is not to be used for political reasons.