An Interpol diffusion is an informal alert circulated by any Interpol member state to notify law enforcement authorities about a person wanted for criminal activities. Although it contains information similar to the Interpol red notice, a diffusion is more of an informal alert used to arrest and extradite a person wanted for crimes. Unlike other notices, a diffusion is not published on the Interpol website. Instead, the country seeking help circulates it through Interpol channels.
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, including 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
There are eight types of Interpol notices, including seven color-coded notices.
Interpol red notices are circulated to help locate, arrest, and extradite a fugitive wanted for crimes to serve a sentence or face charges.
An extradition 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.
Helps obtain information on unidentified bodies.
A public safety yellow notice is used to find a missing person unable to identify themselves.
Helps warn the public and international entities about a possible threat to the public, including events, persons, objects, or processes.
Helps provide and seek information on criminals’ modi operandi, concealment methods, devices, and procedures.
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 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 notices, diffusions are sent via Interpol’s secure information system and recorded in Interpol databases. The requests usually contain the following details;
- A person’s identity: This includes their physical description, identification documents, fingerprints, photographs, and any other relevant information.
- Judicial information: This includes details of the offense, the law covering the crime, 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. However, you may find out using the following steps:
- 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.
- 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 a 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.
- 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. Here is the process representing a notice removal.
- Request the judicial authorities of the country that sent the diffusion or red Notice to delete the information. This process requires the help of an experienced lawyer since it is usually challenging.
- Request national authorities in your country to ask Interpol to delete your information from its databases. Again you need the help of a qualified lawyer to do so.
- Request the CCF to recommend the removal of your information from Interpol databases. This request must meet the admissibility requirements.
- Contact the CC F and request to recommend the deletion of your information. This request must comply with the admissibility requirements according to the Rules on the Processing of Data (RPD).
Admissibility Requirements for Diffusion and Red Notice Removal Requests
Admissibility requirements give you the legal basis for challenging Interpol red notices and diffusions. It includes the following key elements;
- Undertaking activities of a political, military, religious, or racial character is forbidden under Interpol’s Constitution.
- The organization is supposed to conform to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) standards stipulated in Articles 6 and 10 of UDHR.
- The offense must be a serious ordinary law crime.
The following offenses don’t require a diffusion 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 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.
When faced with an international alert, it’s crucial to seek professional help from an experienced attorney. 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.