Our international Interpol lawyers have an impressive track record of successful removal of Interpol Red Notice
, challenging, and obtaining the revocation issued against our clients.
We have a good understanding of Interpol’s ability to disseminate information and how difficult it will be for an affected person subject to a Red Notice to travel safely when the risks involved are properly considered.
The Red Notice is one of the most well-known types of Interpol notices because it serves as an international arrest warrant. But did you know an Interpol Red Notice is just an international notice for wanted persons and not an actual international arrest warrant and it can be challenged to remove Red Notice
Once you appear on the Red Notice, all Interpol’s member countries will be able to see the details. People featured in these notices often seek removal from them for various reasons. It can be a violation of fundamental human rights or for political reasons.
This guide gives you an in-depth knowledge of how Interpol’s Red Notices work, including the Interpol Red Notice removal process, subjects of Interpol Red Notices, the procedure followed when issuing Red Notices, and more.
Interpol Red Notices Interpol-UN and Diffusions issued since 2011
Interpol published approximately 26,500 notices and diffusions in 2011. There were 40,836 notices and 48,310 diffusions in circulation at the end of 2011, and 7,958 people were arrested on the basis of a notice or diffusion during 2011.
Interpol published approximately 32,750 notices and diffusions in 2012. There were 46,994 notices and 66,614 diffusions in circulation at the end of 2012.
Interpol published approximately 34,820 notices and diffusions in 2013. There were 52,880 notices and 70,159 diffusions in circulation at the end of 2013; 1,749 people were arrested on the basis of a notice during 2013.
Interpol published approximately 39,250 notices and diffusions in 2014. There were 60,187 notices and 74,625 diffusions in circulation at the end of 2014; 2,336 people were arrested on the basis of a notice during 2014.
Interpol published approximately 42,266 notices and diffusions in 2015. There were 67,491 notices and 78,313 diffusions in circulation at the end of 2015.
There are currently approximately 69,270 valid Red Notices, of which some 7,500 are public. Also There were 113,880 notices and 105,161 diffusions in circulation at the end of 2021.
The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) is an independent international police body headquartered in Lyon, France. Essentially, the Independent body creates a framework to help law enforcement agencies of its member states to work together. Currently, Interpol prioritizes three primary crime programs; organized and emerging crimes, counter-terrorism, and cybercrime.
The body has 195 member states, and each member has its own National Central Bureau (NCB). National Central Bureaus are contact points between the General Secretariat in Lyon and the member states. Essentially, the NCB in each member country works as a division responsible for international police forces’ cooperation.
When searching for wanted individuals, policing and other law enforcement agencies from these international entities can record and share information on criminals and criminal activities through Interpol’s advanced and secure global police communications system. Usually, the member country seeking an individual’s extradition issues a request to Interpol’s General Secretariat to notify other members about a specific fugitive. The General Secretariat then publishes the information in the Interpol Information System and issues a Red Notice.
Interpol Notices and how to remove Red Notice
Interpol shares alerts and information globally using nine types of notices. Seven of these notices are color-coded, and each color has specific conditions. Here here are the nine types of notices used by Interpol today:
- Red Notice;
- Blue Notice;
- Green Notice;
- Yellow Notice;
- Purple Notice;
- Black Notice;
- Orange Notice;
- Interpol-United Nations Security Council special notice;
- Stolen work of art notices.
Once published, all 195 Interpol member states can view these notices. Besides member countries, bodies like the United Nations, International Criminal Court, and International Criminal Tribunals can use these notices to seek arrests of fugitives wanted for committing crimes within their jurisdictions. Such crimes could be war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.
Interpol Red Notices
An Interpol Red Notice refers to the alert issued by Interpol’s General Secretariat following a request from a member country. The requesting country could be seeking assistance to locate, arrest or extradite an individual scheduled to face a criminal investigation or charges. It contains the following information:
- The person’s identity, including their name, nationality, date of birth, eye and hair color, fingerprints, and photographs.
- The details of the crime the fugitive is wanted for. This may be terrorism, cybercrime, or organized crime.
The legitimacy of Red Notices depends on whether they have complied with Interpol’s set rules and regulations. Once the Interpol Red Notice has met the set requirements, the fugitive can be arrested at any time and in any member state. This can happen when crossing the border, traveling, or in their home.
However, Interpol cannot coerce its member states to arrest individuals appearing on the Red Notice list. Every member has the legal power to accept or decline Red Notice requests within its borders.
Who is Subject to the Interpol Red Notice?
When the issuing country is looking for an individual, it means the person is suspected of committing a serious crime such as murder, rape, or genocide in a given country. However, it does not necessarily have to be a home country; it may be the foreign country where the wanted person committed the crime. Technically, the individual being sought is considered innocent until proven guilty.
Interpol has a specialized task force that checks all Red Notices to ensure they comply with Interpol rules and regulations. This task force weighs the case’s civil, political, and human rights aspects against criminal aspects (ordinary law) to determine the predominant aspect. This way, it is able to know whether an Interpol Red Notice is valid or not based on the set guidelines in its Constitution.
Ways You Challenge an Interpol’s Red Notice
It’s possible to challenge an Interpol’s Red Notice so that it is deleted or removed. The organization created the CCF (Commission for the Control of Files) to be assessing the validity of the Interpol Red Notice removal requests. The proceedings are usually complex and follow the criteria outlined in Article 83 of Interpol’s Rules On Processing of Data (RPD).
The best way to have a Red Notice removed is by challenging its validity. And since this organization is governed by its Constitution and the Rules of the Processing of Data, you need an in-depth understanding of these governing principles to be able to challenge a Red Notice. Here are four ways you can challenge a Red Notice:
- Using the Provisions in Article 83 (1) RPD
According to Article 83 (1) of Interpol’s Constitution regarding Rules of Processing of Data, not all categories of offenses require a Red Notice. The offense must be a serious ordinary law crime. Here are the offenses that do not require Red Notices:
- Offenses stemming from private or family matters;
- Controversial offenses related to behavioral or cultural norms;
- Administrative offenses from private disputes, unless the person is suspected of being affiliated with organized crime or the criminal activity aims to facilitate a serious crime. You can download the complete list from Interpol’s website.
According to the RPD, once a Red Notice is issued for prosecution, the offense must be punishable by a maximum deprivation of liberty of at least two years. The RPD also states that if the Red Notice relates to an outstanding court sentence, the sentence must be imprisonment of at least six months. However, this approach is not always the best because the General Secretariat can still publish a Red Notice even if the above procedures are not met.
- Using Article 83 (2)(b) RPD
According to Article 83 (2)(b) of the RPD, a Red Notice can only be published when sufficient judicial data is provided. This includes a succinct and precise description of criminal activities, the maximum penalty possible, the law covering the offense, and the reference to a valid national arrest warrant following a judicial decision. If the above thresholds are not met, you can make a strong case to have the Red Notice removed.
- Using Article 2(1) of the Interpol’s Constitution
This approach involves reviewing whether the Interpol Red Notice conforms with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) or not. If the Red Notice request from a member state does not comply with the principles of the UDHR, you can request a Red Notice removal. For instance, your attorney can argue that you will not get a fair trial under Articles 6 and 10 UDHR.
- Using Article 3 of the Interpol Constitution
Article 3 of Interpol’s constitution states that it is forbidden for Interpol to get involved in political, religious, military, or racial activities. This also gives you a channel through which you can challenge Interpol Red Notices.
The Process of Challenging an Interpol Red Notice
According to Interpol, the wanted individual can take three actions to challenge its Red Notices for their name to be removed from the relevant Interpol database.
- They can contact the national law enforcement authorities from the requesting country and ask them to take down the information. Usually, this action requires seeking legal advice from a reputable law firm because every country has its own laws and regulations.
- They can also request the local judicial authorities in their country to remove their national arrest order, and the next step is to ask Interpol to delete information from the Interpol database. Again, this also requires legal assistance.
- Finally, the concerned person can write to the CCF requesting them to remove their name from Interpol databases. This step requires the request to comply with the admissibility requirements of Red Notice removal as per CCF. These requirements are complex, and it is always advisable to seek assistance from an attorney from a law firm experienced in dealing with Interpol’s Red Notices.
About CCF’s ‘Admissibility Requirements’?
Similarly, your request must meet admissibility requirements for the CCF to consider it. This includes using the application form provided by the CCF and following all the instructions in that form. Here are the details you must include in the Interpol Red Notice removal request:
- The request must have your original signature.
- It must be written in any of the four languages designated by the CCF. This includes English, Arabic, Spanish, and French.
- You must clearly state the purpose of the request. This could be a request for data deletion, data correction, or access to Interpol’s files.
- The request must be accompanied by a copy of your official identity document, including your full name, photograph, and date of birth.
- The application form must be completed as required by the CCF and attached to the provided CCF Application Form.
The Validity of Interpol Red Notices
The standard validity of an Interpol Red Notice is five years. However, this period may vary depending on specific circumstances. For instance, an Interpol Red Notice can be withdrawn earlier following a request of the member state who asked for its issuance or following a removal decision of the General Secretary.
The validity of a Red Notice can also be extended for specific reasons. For example, the General Secretary can extend its expiry period if the wanted person is not arrested yet.
Sometimes Red Notices remain for months or years, even after charges have been dropped or after the wanted individual has been arrested. This may be because the requesting member has failed to request Interpol to remove a Red Notice.
How to Know if You are a Target of an Interpol Red Notice
It is usually hard to know if you are in Interpol’s Red Notice target. Usually, people become aware of it during extreme instances such as an arrest warrant. In most cases, most of the information concerning prominent Red Notices remains confidential until they are executed.
However, some local regulations in certain countries allow people to access their Red Notice information. You can also contact the CCF and request access to the Red Notice data. Note that the request must be admissible for the CCF to check whether you have an outstanding Interpol Red Notice.
It is important to contact a lawyer if you find yourself on the Red Notice list. Rules surrounding Interpol alerts are complex, and the organization doesn’t provide legal aid when challenging a Red Notice.
As noted above, you may still be at risk even if Interpol has removed you from the Red Notice alert or has informed the member countries that the Interpol notice has been deleted. The information remains in local police computers for some time, which may lead to your arrest in specific circumstances. For example, you can be arrested by police officers after providing a passport when crossing a border.
Therefore, ensure you always carry a copy of the letter indicating that you have been removed from Interpol records. You can request this letter from the CCF to prove that you are no longer in Interpol’s systems. Finally, you can contact a lawyer in the country you intend to visit so that the local law enforcement officers can remove your name from their national police databases.