Interpol Diffusion

Interpol Diffusion

An Interpol diffusion is an informal alert used by member states to inform law enforcement about individuals wanted for crimes. Similar to a red notice but less formal, diffusions are not published on the Interpol website and are circulated through Interpol channels by the country seeking assistance for arrest and extradition.

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Interpol Diffusion

Consequences of a Diffusion

Interpol Red Notices and diffusions have many similar effects. For example, when faced with an outstanding diffusion or a red notice, there is a potential risk of being arrested from your home or when traveling. The arrest can be made by authorized international entities, in police forces or border agents.

Another consequence wanted people may face is the closure of bank accounts and affecting their personal reputation and employment status.

Types of Interpol Notices

So what is a diffusion notice and what are they like? There are several types, and diffusion notice meaning depends on their color. There are eight types of Interpol notices, including seven color-coded notices.

Red Notice:

Interpol red notices are circulated to help locate, arrest, and extradite a fugitive wanted for crimes to serve a sentence or face charges.

Blue Notice:

Interpol Blue notice is used to collect additional information about a person subject to an international arrest warrant. The information may include their identity, location, and details of crimes committed

Black Notice:

Helps obtain information on unidentified bodies.

Yellow Notice:

A public safety yellow notice is used to find a missing person unable to identify themselves.

Orange Notice:

Helps warn the public and international entities about a possible threat to the public, including events, persons, objects, or processes.

Purple Notice:

Helps provide and seek information on criminals’ modi operandi, concealment methods, devices, and procedures.

Green Notice:

The criminal investigation green notice helps communicate information to the public about a person’s criminal activities, which have a risk of being repeated in other countries.

Interpol United Nations Security Council Special Notice:

Helps inform Interpol’s members about a group or person subject to UN Security Council sanctions.

How Interpol Diffusions and Notices Work

Every member country has its own NCB (National Central Bureau) responsible for sending notice requests to Interpol’s General Secretariat. Before the General Secretariat publishes any Interpol notice or Interpol diffusion request, the request must be reviewed by the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files (CCF) to ensure it conforms to Interpol rules and regulations. The CCF is an independent body responsible for reviewing data processed through Interpol’s Information System, including diffusions and notices.

Typically, diffusions are circulated directly by the NCB to member countries or international entities of their choice. Just like Interpol red diffusion, diffusions are sent via Interpol’s secure information system and recorded in Interpol databases. The requests usually contain the following details;

  1. A person’s identity: This includes their physical description, identification documents, fingerprints, photographs, and any other relevant information.
  2. Judicial information: This includes details of the offense, the law covering the crime, the court sentence, and judicial reference to the arrest warrant.

Apart from member countries, International entities like the UN, the International Criminal Court, and International Criminal Tribunals can use Interpol international alerts to locate fugitives wanted for committing crimes within their jurisdictions. These may be war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.

How to Know if You Are Subject to a Diffusion or a Red Notice

It’s usually difficult to know if your information is on Interpol’s alert list. But it’s important to know what is diffusion nterpol notice and what it means. However, you may find out using the following steps:

  1. Check your name on the ‘Interpol’s wanted persons’ list: One downside of checking your name on the Interpol website is that the list only features selected types of red notices. Additionally, the organization publishes other types of alerts on a restricted network, making them visible to law enforcement agencies only. Another drawback is that diffusions are not published on the organization’s website, meaning you can’t find this information on Interpol’s website.
  2. Ask the Police or Judicial authorities: Local judicial authorities or the police may be able to help you find out if you are subject to diffusion or red notice. However, there is no formal way for this process since the police may be barred from consulting Interpol records and disclosing the information to the public.
  3. Requesting the information from CCF: You can also request the CCF for access to your file. The process can be challenging and requires the help of an experienced lawyer. Not only can the lawyer help you gain access to your file, but also challenge the information. Note that the process may take some time since the CCF must consult with the NCB of the involved country. However, the CCF doesn’t necessarily have to get approval from the NCB if you have enough proof that your information is featured on Interpol’s files.

How to Request for the Removal or Deletion of a Diffusion or a Red Notice

The CCF rejects any notice request that violates Interpol’s Constitution. Diffusions and red notices must meet admissibility requirements according to CCF regulations. This allows you to request a correction or deletion of diffusions and Interpol red notices issued against you if you believe they are illegal.

To remove a diffusion or red notice from Interpol, follow these steps:

  • First, ask the judicial authorities of the issuing country to delete the information with a lawyer’s help.
  • Second, request your national authorities to ask Interpol to remove your details from their databases, also with legal assistance.
  • Finally, apply to the CCF, ensuring your request meets the admissibility criteria per the Rules on the Processing of Data (RPD).

Admissibility Requirements for Diffusion and Red Notice Removal Requests

To challenge Interpol’s red notices and diffusions legally, consider these criteria:

  • Activities related to politics, military, religion, or race are prohibited by Interpol’s Constitution;
  • adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), specifically Articles 6 and 10, is mandatory;
  • the offense in question must be a serious crime under ordinary law.

The following offenses don’t require a diffusion notice Interpol or a red notice according to Article 83(1) of the Constitution because they are not serious ordinary crimes;

  • Criminal charges from family or private matters.
  • Controversial crimes are associated with behavioral and cultural norms like adultery.
  • Offenses related to the violation of administrative law, unless the person is involved in organized crime or wants to facilitate a serious crime.

To have your request considered by the CCF, it must meet certain specific criteria (these can be found at: Interpol’s How to submit a request quide)

  • The request must be a signed original letter;
  • It should come with a copy of a form of identification. While not explicitly stated in the rules, FTI recommends a passport, ID card or driver’s license;
  • If you prefer for someone else to compose your request, a power of attorney document must be included. Remember to enclose the signed original and not a photocopy;
  • Additionally, whilst submitting your letter, you are urged to fill out and include the Access Request Form.

When faced with an international alert, it’s crucial to seek professional help from an experienced attorney. He will help you understand what is an Interpol diffusion notice, and how to behave if you receive one. The consequences of a provisional arrest and extradition can be devastating, especially to your job and personal reputation. Besides, Interpol rules are usually complex because you will be dealing with laws from different member states.

Lawyer Kendall Coffey
Kendall Coffey
Senior Partner
Mr. Coffey is a former U.S. Attorney, Southern District of Florida (1993-1996); and served as Chair of, the Southern District Conference, Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission (April 2009 – January 2017).

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I am subject to Interpol diffusion or Red Notice?
To find out if you have a red notice is very easy, send us [email protected] and we will send a special request to Interpol. The service costs only $750 and you will know your situation for sure.
How do I remove Interpol diffusion notice?
Upon receipt of an Interpol diffusion notice, if grounds for deletion are established, a request for deletion of information from the Interpol database (request for deletion) must be submitted to Interpol.
What kind of crimes does INTERPOL investigate?
Common crimes handled by Interpol include all international crimes except political crimes: drug and arms trafficking, theft of valuables, terrorism, murder, counterfeiting, and more.
Can I travel If I am subject to a Red Notice / Diffusion?
There is a significant risk of your being arrested, in your home country or during travel, if a Red Notice/Diffusion applies to you. In several nations, border officials are mandated to detain individuals who are subjects of Red Notices, meaning you could face arrest when arriving or departing at an airport. Similarly, in some locations, hotels may share guest information with local law enforcement, who then cross-reference these names with INTERPOL lists, potentially leading to your apprehension.
Write to the CCF myself VS brief a lawyer to do it?
INTERPOL's regulations are very complex and it's advisable to consult an attorney skilled in contesting INTERPOL Red Notices and Diffusions. The annex to this Advisory Note includes a list of law firms experienced in this field. However, INTERPOL doesn't offer legal aid, and we're not privy to any nation that provides legal aid for challenging a Red Notice or Diffusion. Consequently, if procuring legal assistance is financially unfeasible, you might consider submitting a request independently.
How is a Diffusion different from a Red Notice?
A Diffusion is less formal than a Red Notice and can be sent directly to selected member countries without going through the General Secretariat. This allows for quicker dissemination of urgent information.
Who can issue a Diffusion?
Any Interpol member country can issue a Diffusion. The issuing country is responsible for the content and the choice of recipient countries.
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