What is an INTERPOL Red Notice?

A red Notice is a request to international law enforcement to locate and arrest a wanted person. The arrest is done pending their deportation, surrender, or facing similar laws. Conversely, Red Notices are published by INTERPOL as requested by any member country. They must conform to INTERPOL’s constitution and regulations.

It is important to note that Red Notices are not international arrest warrants.

What does a Red Notice Entail?

It contains two main types of information.

·    Information that identifies a wanted person, such as name, date of birth, hair color, nationality, photographs, if any, and fingerprints, if available.

·    Information of the crime they are wanted for, such as money laundering, murder, rape, etc

Who Qualifies to be on a Red Notice List?

Red Notices are issued to wanted persons to face trial or to serve a sentence. It follows judicial proceedings from the country issuing the request. It is not necessarily their country of origin but the country where the fugitive committed the crime.

It is important to note that a wanted person who is not yet convicted is innocent until proven guilty. Hence a wanted person to serve a sentence has already been found guilty of the crime.

Are there offenses that Red Notice may not be Issued?

INTERPOL’s Article 83 on the rules on Processing of Data sets out precise conditions that guide the publication of Red Notices. However, the following offenses do not warrant a Red Notice publication:

  •  Crimes that various countries raise controversies relating to cultural or behavioral norms
  •  Crimes that relate to family or private matters
  •  Crimes originating from violations of laws of an administrative nature. An exemption is if these criminal activities contribute to a serious crime or are suspected to be connected to organized crime.

What Happens Before Publishing a Red Notice?

A specialized task force looks into every Red Notice to ensure compliance with the Rules and Regulations of INTERPOL. Any new information is brought to the General Secretariat after a Red Notice is issued, and the task force has to reexamine the case.

Does INTERPOL Arrest Individuals in a Red Notice?

No, these persons are wanted by the issuing country or an international tribunal. INTERPOL doesn’t compel international law enforcement to make arrests. Each member country decides on the legal value they place on the Red Notice alerts and abide by it.

Is it Possible to Know If you are on the Red Notice?

Most people only find out they are subject to an arrest when crossing borders. However, if you suspect your name is on the list, it is important to contact INTERPOL. Some names are made public as seen on their website, but more information on wanted persons is available on request. In addition, you can contact the Commission of Control of INTERPOL’s Files, which is treated confidentially.


INTERPOL’s Red Notice is important as they alert police in the member countries about internationally wanted fugitives. As a result, these fugitives are brought to justice, even years later after committing the original crime.

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