International Arrest Warrant

An International arrest warrant (EAW) also called an Interpol arrest warrant is a legal document issued against an individual in another country that requires extradition. People are often arrested when they cross a border or are stopped for unrelated reasons. Having this legal document means that you may be arrested in any country in the EU. You should always make sure to know your rights before you get arrested.

Generally speaking, an EAW (international warrant) is issued by an authority in another EU country for criminal purposes. This mechanism is based on the principle of mutual recognition of judicial decisions. Authorities in other countries must respect the procedural rights of the suspect, including the right to legal counsel, interpreters, and legal aid. In addition, suspects have the right to be informed of the details of the case and to speak with a lawyer. Depending on the case, the suspect may be able to have an attorney or interpreter present at the proceedings.

International Arrest Warrant

Key Differences Between Domestic and International Arrest Warrants

Category Domestic Arrest Warrants International Arrest Warrants
Jurisdiction Limited to the issuing country Involves multiple countries and jurisdictions
Legal Basis Based on national laws and regulations Rooted in international law and treaties
Enforcement Handled by local and national authorities Requires international cooperation
Types of Crimes Typically limited to national crimes Focuses on transnational and serious crimes
Diplomatic Considerations Generally not a concern often play a significant role

Challenges in Executing International Arrest Warrants

Challenge Description
Diplomatic and Political Factors Relations between countries and political implications may hinder the enforcement of international arrest warrants
Jurisdictional Disputes Differences in legal systems and definitions of crimes may create obstacles
Conflicts of Law Varying evidentiary standards and legal requirements between countries may complicate enforcement
Human Rights Concerns Ensuring that extradition and prosecution do not violate human rights and due process standards

Essential Components of International Arrest Warrants:

  • International law, treaties, and agreements make this legal.
  • Conditions for giving out: How bad the crime was, if there was enough proof and if all the rules were followed.
  • The country asked for The nation where the suspect is thought to be and from which he or she is wanted to be sent back
  • How extradition works: How the suspect gets moved from one nation to another, according to the law
  • Execution: The culprit being caught and the warrant being carried out, which sometimes involves more than one law enforcement agency or jurisdiction.

Factors Impacting the Success of International Arrest Warrants

  1. Effective communication and coordination between countries
  2. Adherence to international law and human rights standards
  3. Capacity-building initiatives and training programs for law enforcement agencies
  4. Information-sharing platforms and international databases
  5. Resolving diplomatic, political, and jurisdictional disputes and conflicts of law
  6. Strengthening international legal frameworks and cooperation mechanisms

Challenging and deletion of International Arrest Warrants

Challenging an international arrest warrant can be a complex process due to the legal, jurisdictional, and diplomatic factors involved. Individuals subject to an international arrest warrant may seek to contest its validity or the extradition request on various grounds, depending on the laws and procedures of the requested country and the applicable international treaties and agreements.

Some common grounds for challenging an international arrest warrant include arguing that the warrant is politically motivated, lacks sufficient evidence, or violates the individual’s human rights. Additionally, individuals may challenge extradition on the basis of the dual criminality requirement, asserting that the alleged crime is not recognized or punishable in the requested country. In some cases, individuals may also raise concerns about the risk of torture, inhumane treatment, or unfair trials in the requesting country, invoking international human rights standards to prevent extradition. The process of challenging an international arrest warrant requires a deep understanding of the legal systems of both the requesting and requested countries, as well as knowledge of international law and human rights standards. Legal representation and expertise in these areas are crucial for mounting a successful challenge and ensuring that the rights of the individual are protected throughout the process.

Challenging and deletion of International Arrest Warrants

Purpose and importance of International Arrest Warrants

International arrest warrants are a very important part of getting justice and keeping the world safe. They make it possible for governments to work together to find and prosecute those who commit crimes that cross national borders. As globalization continues to make countries more dependent on each other, it becomes more important to be able to hold transnational offenders accountable in order to promote the rule of law and justice.

One of the main reasons for international arrest warrants is to make it easier for offenders to be moved from one country to another to be tried or to fulfill their sentences. Extradition makes sure that criminals can’t merely run away to another country to avoid prosecution. This is especially crucial in situations involving crimes like terrorism, human trafficking, drug trafficking, and financial crimes, which typically involve intricate international networks and affect more than one country.

International arrest warrants not only make extradition easier, but they also send a message to would-be offenders that the international community is dedicated to pursuing justice no matter where it is. When governments cooperate together to catch and prosecute criminals, it sends a strong message that transnational criminals have nowhere to hide.

International arrest warrants also help to enhance international legal systems and build confidence and cooperation between governments. As countries work together to produce and enforce these warrants, they set up ways to talk to one another and share information that can help them fight global crime better as a whole.

Purpose and importance of International Arrest Warrants

International arrest warrants are based on the idea of universal jurisdiction and on a number of international accords and treaties. Universal jurisdiction is a legal idea that lets a state try someone for certain crimes no matter where they were committed or what country they are from. This notion is based on the idea that some crimes are so bad and hurtful to the whole world that they should be prosecuted by any country that has the person in custody.

International treaties and agreements give greater details about how and when international arrest warrants can be issued and carried out. Extradition treaties, for example, are bilateral or multilateral agreements between nations that define how and when people who have been charged or convicted of crimes in one country can be sent to another one to be tried or punished. These treaties spell out the types of crimes that can be extradited and the legal requirements for extradition requests. For example, the evidence must be shown and the alleged crime must be punishable in both the country asking for extradition and the country asking for extradition.

Mutual legal assistance treaties (MLATs) are another sort of international agreement that makes it easier for governments to work together on criminal problems. MLATs set up a legal way for people to share information and evidence, and help with criminal investigations, prosecutions, and court cases. This cooperation is a must if international arrest orders are to be carried out and offenders are to be brought to justice.

Red Notices are issued by Interpol to help find and apprehend people who are seeking for certain offenses, such as those that carry a penalty of at least one year in jail. Even while a Red Notice is not an international arrest warrant in and of itself, it is a request for member countries to temporarily hold the sought individual until they may be extradited, surrendered, or something similar. Red Notices may be very important for letting the worldwide community know about people who represent a major threat to public safety and security and getting them to help find them.

The International Criminal Court is another international group that helps to make international arrest warrants legal. (ICC). The ICC is a permanent court that looks into, prosecutes, and tries those who are suspected of committing genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. The ICC can issue arrest warrants for people it thinks are culpable of these kinds of crimes, but it needs the help of its member nations to carry out these orders and bring the accused to justice.

In short, international arrest warrants are valid since they are based on the idea of universal jurisdiction, international agreements and treaties, and the cooperation of international organizations. This complex legal structure makes it possible for countries to cooperate together to catch and punish those who commit major crimes across international borders. This helps to promote justice, security, and the rule of law on a global scale.

Legal basis for International Arrest Warrants

Issuance and execution of International Arrest Warrants

International arrest warrants are hard to get and hard to carry out since it takes a lot of work from both the country that asked for the warrant and the country that was asked to carry it out. When a government wants to catch a suspect it thinks is in another country, it must first figure out if the alleged offense fits the requirements for an international arrest warrant. This usually means figuring out how bad the crime was, making sure there is enough evidence to support the order, and making sure the warrant meets the legal standards of both the country that asked for it and the country that it was sent to.

Once the issuing government has confirmed that the warrant is lawful, it might send a formal request to the desired country or share the warrant through an international group like Interpol. When the requesting nation gets the warrant, they will look at it to see if it fits their legal requirements for arrest and extradition. This might mean looking at the facts, figuring out if there are two crimes, and thinking about any possible human rights problems or political ramifications.

When an international arrest order is carried out, it can be hard in many ways. Diplomatic and political factors may come into play, especially if the requested country has a tense relationship with the asking country or if the suspect is a well-known person with political ties. In certain situations, the country that was asked to carry out the warrant could be reluctant to do so, or the procedure might get bogged down in long diplomatic talks.

International arrest warrants might be hard to carry out if there are disagreements over who has the right to make decisions and what the law says. Differences across nations in their legal systems, criteria for proof, and definitions of crimes might make it hard to carry out warrants. Some nations may also refuse to extradite their own nationals or anyone who may suffer the death penalty, torture, or other cruel treatment in the country that asked for them. To make sure that international arrest warrants are carried out in line with international law and human rights norms, these challenges must be properly dealt with.

Even with these problems, international arrest warrants may be carried out successfully when nations communicate, coordinate, and work together. Law enforcement agencies need to exchange information and resources, and any legal or political concerns that come up should be dealt with through diplomatic channels. Countries may choose to invest in things like training programs, collaborative investigation teams, and platforms for exchanging information to make it easier and more likely that international arrest warrants will be carried out.

In the end, issuing and carrying out international arrest warrants is a complicated procedure that involves a lot of collaboration between nations and following a number of legal rules. To make sure these warrants are carried out and significant multinational crimes are brought to justice, it is important to find ways to get beyond diplomatic, political, and legal problems.

Issuance and execution of International Arrest Warrants

High-profile cases involving International Arrest Warrants

High-profile cases involving international arrest warrants often capture public attention and highlight the complexities of apprehending and prosecuting individuals for transnational crimes. These cases underscore the importance of international cooperation in the pursuit of justice and the challenges that arise when legal, political, and diplomatic factors intersect.

One example with a lot of attention is that of Julian Assange, who started WikiLeaks. Assange was given an international arrest order by Sweden in 2010 because he was accused of sexual misbehavior. Assange asked for shelter at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012. He stayed there until 2019 when his asylum was taken away and British authorities apprehended him. Even though the Swedish accusations were finally dismissed, Assange is still fighting extradition to the US, where he is charged with espionage and hacking computers. Assange’s case shows how complicated it may be to carry out an international arrest order since it involves international law, human rights, and political reasons.

Ratko Mladi’s case is also important since he was the head of the Bosnian Serb forces throughout the Bosnian War. He is accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Mladi avoided arrest for 16 years till he was caught in Serbia in 2011. This happened when the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia issued an international arrest order. (ICTY). His capture was the product of a lot of work by law enforcement agencies all around the world working together. It showed how determined the world is to get justice for serious crimes.

The case of the famed Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán is another example of a well-known international arrest order. Guzmán, who used to run the Sinaloa Cartel, was caught in Mexico in 2014 after he had spent years trying to avoid police. After he was sent back to the United

High-profile cases involving International Arrest Warrants

International Arrest Warrants vs Types of Interpol Notices?

The color-coded INTERPOL Notice enables member states to share alerts and other information worldwide. These Notices include:

  1. Red Notice – Wanted persons to serve a sentence or for prosecution.
  2. Yellow Notice – Locate missing persons.
  3. Blue Notice – Collect critical information regarding a person’s identity in a serious crime.
  4. Black Notice – Seek info on unnamed bodies.
  5. Green Notice – Warning about a person’s crimes, especially if a threat to the public.
  6. Orange Notice – Warn of an event or person that is a possible threat to the public.
  7. Purple Notice -Seek info on operations, devices, or objects used by criminals.

International Arrest Warrants vs Types of Interpol Notices?

A Notice is only published if it conforms to INTERPOL’s constitution and fulfills the necessary conditions according to data processing rules. It ensures that personal data is protected and that information provided is legal.

For example, INTERPOL doesn’t publish a notice if it violates Article 3 of INTERPOL’s constitution. It prohibits the organization from any political, racial, or religious activity. The Notices and Interpol Diffusion unit reviews compliance with these issues.

INTERPOL Notices Legal Framework

Example of International arrest warrant

International Criminal Court arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin

On March 17, 2023, following an investigation of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants against Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, and Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights.

They bear purported responsibility for the war crime of unlawful displacement and relocation of children during Russia’s incursion into Ukraine. The decree against Putin marks the first ever against the head of a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. All 123 member nations of the ICC are obligated to capture and extradite Putin and Lvova-Belova should they either set foot on their territory.

International law

From the point of view of international law, the forcible deportation of minors is considered a crime against humanity:

  • As per the “1949 Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War,” occupiers hold no rights to alter the civil status of children;
  • Furthermore, Russia has violated Article 7 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which endorses children’s rights to a name and acquisition of citizenship;
  • Article II of the 1948 Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide determines that “forcefully relocating children from one national, ethnic, racial, or religious group to another” constitutes genocide;
  • Russia ratified the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which states “no one may be expelled, either singularly or collectively, from the territory of the State they are citizens of”.

The United Nations commission of inquiry labeled Russian forces’ deportation of Ukrainian children as a war crime. A number of countries, including Ukraine, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Canada, Lithuania, Czech Republic, and Ireland, have officially recognized the events unfolding in Ukraine as genocide carried out by Russian forces.

What does that mean in reality?

Considering Russia’s refusal to acknowledge the court and its non-extradition of citizens, the probability of Putin or Lvova-Belova being handed over to the court’s jurisdiction in the near future appears minimal.

But the issuing of the warrant plays a critically symbolic role. It sounds a warning to high-ranking Russian officials, both military and civilian, who may be subject to prosecution presently or in the future, and would further constrain their capacity to travel abroad, including for attendance at global forums.

Important articles

Can You Fly if You Have a Warrant in 2023?

Can You Get Arrested at the Airport?

Non Extradition Countries

Who Is the Most Wanted Person in The World?

How Do I Know If I Am Wanted by Interpol?

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).

International Arrest Warrants FAQ

How do International Arrest Warrants work ?
International arrest warrants let governments work together to find and extradite people who have committed severe crimes across borders. The process includes a legal foundation (universal jurisdiction, international treaties), a country that wants to issue the warrant, and a country that wants to be served with the warrant. Red Notices, which are sent out by organisations like Interpol, may make the procedure easier. If the requested nation accepts, their police collaborate with the police from the country asking for the suspect to find, arrest, and extradite the culprit.
What is a European arrest warrant summary?
A European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is a legal tool that streamlines the extradition process between EU member states, allowing for the swift arrest and transfer of individuals accused or convicted of serious crimes across EU borders.
What countries are in the European arrest warrant?
The countries in the European Arrest Warrant system include all 27 European Union member states.
What is a European arrest warrant for the UK?
  1. A European Arrest Warrant (EAW) for the UK was a mechanism that allowed for the streamlined extradition of individuals between the UK and EU member states prior to Brexit.
What is the purpose of the European arrest warrant?
An official document that can be applied for across EU Member States is a European Arrest Warrant (EAW). The EAW paperwork asks for your arrest in one EU Member State and your transfer (surrender) to another EU Member State so you can either stand trial or, if court proceedings have already been initiated, serve a prison sentence.
Who issues an EAW?
The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is a streamlined cross-border court surrender process used to prosecute or carry out a detention order or sentence. A warrant issued by the judicial authority of one EU member state is valid throughout the entirety of the EU.
What is European arrest warrant Brexit?
European Arrest Warrant Brexit refers to the impact of the UK's departure from the EU on its participation in the EAW system, which ceased after Brexit.
Can the UK still use a European arrest warrant?
The UK can no longer use the European Arrest Warrant. Instead, it has negotiated a new extradition framework with the EU, as outlined in the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), which is similar to but less efficient than the EAW system.
What is the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant in use today?
The Interpol Red Notice is currently the most comparable tool to an international arrest warrant in circulation.
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