Interpol Red Notice

Interpol Red Notice

Interpol Red Notices are worldwide warnings issued by the World Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) to aid in the location and arrest of wanted individuals in order to enable their extradition. These notifications are an important weapon in the battle against transnational crime for law enforcement authorities all around the world.

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Interpol Red Notice

A Red Notice is often mistakenly referred to as an “international arrest warrant.” However, INTERPOL clarifies that a Red Notice is simply a notification to member countries about a person’s wanted status based on an arrest warrant or court order from a country or international tribunal. According to INTERPOL’s constitution, Red Notices are issued for significant ordinary law offenses unrelated to cultural norms, family or private matters, or minor private conflicts. They are not for cases involving organized crime and must meet a certain threshold for punishment. Visit to learn more about what a Red Notice is and what it isn’t.

Overview of Interpol Red Notice

PurposeTo locate and arrest individuals wanted for prosecution or to serve a sentence.
CriteriaValid national arrest warrant, serious crime, and compliance with Interpol’s Constitution.
Binding NatureNon-binding; serves as an advisory tool for information exchange among law enforcement.
Request ProcessSubmitted by the National Central Bureau (NCB) of the requesting country to Interpol.
Review and ApprovalInterpol’s General Secretariat reviews the request for compliance, validity, and information.
CirculationShared with all 194 Interpol member countries via the I-24/7 system.
Extradition FrameworksVaries among countries; may involve extradition treaties, ad hoc arrangements, or diplomacy.
Jurisdictional IssuesConcerns may arise over national sovereignty and legal system conflicts.
Potential MisuseRed Notices may be misused for political or personal purposes, undermining credibility.

Purpose and significance of Red Notices

Purpose of Red Notices

Red Notices are essential in international law enforcement, enabling member nations to collaborate in locating and apprehending offenders across borders. This cooperation is vital in combating crimes like terrorism, drug trafficking, financial fraud, and organized crime.

A brief history of Interpol and Red Notices

Interpol was established in 1923 to foster international law enforcement cooperation. Following the organization’s re-establishment after World War II, the first Red Notice was issued in 1946. The Red Notice system has now grown into a potential tool for apprehending offenders across borders.

Requirements for issuing a Red Notice

To issue a Red Notice, several criteria must be met:

  1. The person must be wanted for prosecution or to serve a sentence for a serious crime.
  2. The crime should carry a minimum jail term of two years.
  3. The request must be based on a valid national arrest warrant.
  4. The notice must comply with Interpol’s Constitution, which prohibits involvement in political, military, religious, or ethnic matters.

Steps to request an Interpol Red Notice

The following procedures must be followed in order for a Red Notice to be issued:

  1. The National Central Bureau (NCB) of the requesting nation files a Red Notice request to Interpol’s General Secretariat.
  2. All pertinent information, including as the suspect’s identification, description, portrait, fingerprints (if available), and facts of the suspected crime, must be included in the request.
  3. The seeking NCB must provide proof of a valid national arrest warrant.

Interpol’s review and Red Notice approval process:

Red Notice approval process

When Interpol’s General Secretariat receives a request for a Red Notice, it evaluates the application to ensure it fits the essential conditions. The following steps are included in the evaluation process:

  • Evaluating the request’s adherence to Interpol’s Constitution and guidelines.
  • Verifying the national arrest warrant’s legitimacy and the gravity of the accused offense.
  • Confirming that the request has enough information to identify the suspect.
  • If the request satisfies all parameters, the General Secretariat of Interpol authorizes it and issues the Red Notice.

Circulation and dissemination of Interpol Red Notices

Circulation of Interpol Red Notices

Once issued, an Interpol Red Notice is disseminated to all 194 member nations. This involves:

  1. Distribution through Interpol’s encrypted global police communication system, I-24/7.
  2. Publication on Interpol’s official website, with some restrictions.
  3. Notification to worldwide law enforcement authorities about the individual’s wanted status.

The non-binding nature of Red Notices

Red Notices are merely advisory in nature, and member nations are under no obligation to arrest or extradite the persons in question. They are used to exchange information and communicate with police enforcement authorities.

Table 1: Binding vs. Non-Binding Legal Instruments

Legal InstrumentBindingNon-Binding
Red NoticeNoYes
Domestic LawsYesNo

Red Notice: Concerns about jurisdiction and sovereignty

The arrest and prosecution of individuals wanted in multiple countries under Interpol’s Red Notice can lead to jurisdictional and sovereignty issues. Respecting state sovereignty and legal systems is crucial when dealing with transnational offenders.

Extradition involves transferring a fugitive from one country to another for prosecution or to serve a sentence. Extradition laws and procedures vary significantly across countries, with some having formal treaties and others using ad hoc agreements or diplomatic requests.

Table 2: Types of Extradition Agreements

Type of AgreementDescription
Extradition TreatyA formal agreement between countries outlining extradition terms and process.
Ad Hoc ExtraditionOne-time, case-by-case arrangement for extradition.
Diplomatic RequestRequest submitted through diplomatic channels, without a formal treaty.

Potential misuse of Red Notices

Concerns have been raised concerning some countries’ usage of Red Notices for political or personal gain rather than genuine law enforcement aims. This abuse may result in human rights violations and erode Interpol’s credibility.

Interpol Red Notice: High-Profile Cases and Controversies

Interpol Red Notice Cases

Prominent Red Notice cases:

  • Julian Assange: In 2010, Sweden sent a “Red Notice” about suspected sexual offenses against Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. He went to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to ask for refuge and stayed there until he was caught in 2019.
  • Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán: The legendary Mexican drug lord El Chapo was caught in 2014 after he escaped from a Mexican jail and a Red Notice was put out about him. He was transferred back to the U.S. in 2017 when he was found guilty of many crimes and given a life sentence.
  • Dawood Ibrahim: The Indian mafia lord and terrorist are on a “Red Notice” because he is thought to have been involved in the Bombay bombings of 1993. Ibrahim is still on the run. He is said to be hiding in Pakistan.

Controversial instances of Red Notice misuse:

  • Bill Browder is a British businessman who was born in the United States. In 2013, Russia sent him a Red Notice because he supported the Magnitsky Act, which puts penalties on Russian officials who violate human rights. Many people thought that this Red Notice was based on politics, thus it was finally taken down.
  • Kazakhstan put out a “Red Notice” for Mukhtar Ablyazov, a Kazakh businessman and opposition leader who is accused of stealing money from the government. Critics say that the lawsuit is about politics and is meant to stop him from speaking out against the administration.

Concerns about the Red Notice system’s reliability arise from its controversial use in high-profile cases. It’s crucial to monitor who receives Red Notices and their usage to prevent exploitation for political or personal gain. Maintaining the system’s effectiveness and credibility in combating international crime requires robust and transparent oversight.

Interpol Lawyer Dmytro Konovalenko
Dmytro Konovalenko
Senior Partner
Lawyer specializing in extradition and Interpol cases, with membership in the International Bar Association. In five years of practice, Dmitry has defended clients against persecution by law enforcement agencies in the United States, Russia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Russia and other countries. He has successfully applied measures to prevent a manhunt at early stages and specializes in defending in complex cases involving economic, political and military charges.

Interpol Red Notice FAQ

What is an Interpol Red Notice?
Interpol sends out an international notice called a "Red Notice" to find and apprehend people who are wanted for criminal charges or to fulfill a sentence. It helps law enforcement agencies throughout the world talk to one another, which makes it easier for them to work together to catch criminals.
What criteria must be met for a Red Notice to be issued?
The following must be true for a Red Notice to be issued:
  • The person must be wanted by the law for a major crime or to serve a sentence for a serious offense.
  • The offense must be serious enough to warrant a prison term of at least two years, which is usually the case.
  • There must be a valid national arrest warrant to back up the request.
  • The notification must follow Interpol's Constitution, which says that the organization can't get involved in military, religious, political, or ethnic affairs.
Are Red Notices legally binding?
Red Notices do not have any legal weight. They are a way for law enforcement agencies to share information and talk to each other, but they don't require member countries to arrest or extradite the people in the issue.
How does a country request a Red Notice?
The National Central Bureau (NCB) of a nation must send a request to Interpol's General Secretariat to get a Red Notice. The request should contain important facts, such as the suspect's name, description, photo, fingerprints (if they are available), and information about the suspected crime. The NCB must also affirm that a valid national arrest warrant is in place.
What is Interpol's review and approval process for Red Notices?
When Interpol gets a request for a Red Notice, the General Secretariat looks through the request to make sure it fits the requirements. The evaluation procedure involves:
  1. Figuring out if the request is in line with Interpol's norms and constitution.
  2. Making sure the national arrest warrant is real and that the offense it is for is serious.
  3. Making sure that the information in the request is enough to identify the suspect.
If the request fits all of the standards, the Red Notice is approved by Interpol's General Secretariat and sent out.
How are Red Notices circulated and disseminated?
Red Notices are sent out and shared through I-24/7, which is Interpol's secure worldwide police communications system. This mechanism links the 194 nations that are members, so that their National Central Bureaus (NCBs) may share and get the alerts. Red Notices can also be posted on Interpol's public website, as long as the nation that asked for them agrees and there are no legal limitations. Red Notices are sent out through the I-24/7 system and a public website, so that law enforcement authorities all over the world may access the information and take the right steps.
How do extradition frameworks affect Red Notices?
A Red Notice is not an international arrest warrant, but it can be used to ask for someone to be sent to another country. Different countries have different rules for extradition, which are based on bilateral or multilateral agreements and local laws. These rules have the following effects on Red Notices: Legal foundation: Extradition treaties or agreements between nations are the legal basis for countries to work together on Red Notices that include extradition. Dual criminality: Many extradition laws require that the alleged crime be deemed a crime in both the country asking for extradition and the country asking for extradition. If the crime listed on a Red Notice doesn't fulfill this condition, extradition could not be allowed. Political offense exception: Most extradition laws provide a political offense exemption that says people can't be sent to jail for acts that were motivated by politics. If a country thinks that a Red Notice was issued for political reasons, it might refuse to send the person to jail. Concerns about human rights: Extradition laws may include protections for human rights, giving the requested nation the authority to refuse extradition if the seeking country is likely to break human rights.
What jurisdictional issues and sovereignty concerns may arise with Red Notices?
There are various ways that Red Notices might lead to questions of jurisdiction and sovereignty:
  • Sovereignty: A Red Notice might be seen as an attack on a country's sovereignty if the country thinks that Interpol is meddling in its own affairs or if there is a debate over whether or not the notice is legal.
  • Conflicting jurisdictions: When more than one country has a legal interest in prosecuting a person who is on a Red Notice, this might lead to conflicting jurisdictions. This might lead to court battles about whether the nation has the power to prosecute the person or send them back to their home country.
  • Diplomatic issues: Countries may be unwilling to execute a Red Notice or start extradition procedures because of diplomatic or political concerns, especially if the seeking nation has a tense relationship with the sought country.
  • Different countries have different legal systems, standards of proof, and guidelines for how to do things. Because of these discrepancies, it might be hard to enforce a Red Notice or handle an extradition request, because the nation asking for extradition may be worried about how fair the judicial procedure of the country asking for extradition is.
It is important to know that Interpol seeks to find a middle ground between making it easier for law enforcement agencies throughout the world to work together and preserving the sovereignty of its member countries. Interpol uses its legal framework, review mechanisms, and the concept of neutrality to make sure that Red Notices are used in the right way when it comes to questions of jurisdiction and sovereignty.
Can Red Notices be misused for political or personal purposes?
Yes, Red Notices can be used wrongly for personal or political reasons. Some governments have been accused of using the Red Notice system to send criminal charges against political dissidents, activists, or opponents. These things hurt the credibility of the Red Notice system and might lead to abuses of human rights.
What measures are in place to prevent the misuse of Red Notices?
Legal framework: Interpol's Constitution, decisions from the General Assembly, and Rules on the Processing of Data are all parts of its legal foundation. These rules say that people's rights should be respected and try to stop Red Notices from being used for political, military, racial, or religious purposes. Process of review: Before sending out a Red Notice, Interpol's General Secretariat looks through each request to make sure it follows the law. This approach is meant to stop people from misusing Red Notices by figuring out if the request is legal and if it follows Interpol's guidelines. Interpol keeps an eye on how its systems, including Red Notices, are used to make sure they follow the rules and keep the highest standards of data processing. Commission for the Control of Interpol's Files (CCF): This independent group looks at concerns about how data is handled in Interpol's systems, such as how Red Notices could be misused.
How can an individual challenge the validity of a Red Notice?
If someone thinks they were given a Red Notice in mistake or for no good reason, they can take the following procedures to contest its validity: Contact the National Central Bureau (NCB) of their country: The person should first go to the NCB that issued the Red warning and ask for an explanation or to have the warning removed. File a complaint with the Commission for the Control of Interpol's Files (CCF): If the person isn't happy with the NCB's answer or thinks their rights have been infringed, they can file a complaint with the CCF. The CCF will look at the case and may suggest that the Red Notice be removed or that Interpol's files be changed. Legal help: The person may also choose to hire an Interpol lawyers who have dealt with Interpol cases before to aid them through the process of fighting a Red Notice. It's important to know that contesting a Red Notice may be a hard and time-consuming procedure. Also, the conclusion is not assured because each case is looked at on its own, and the authorities make the ultimate judgment.
Can a Red Notice be removed or modified?
Yes, you may delete or change a Red Notice. The National Central Bureau (NCB) of the nation that asked for the removal or change, the General Secretariat of Interpol, or the Commission for the Control of Interpol's Files can start the process. (CCF). The NCB might opt to pull the request, or the General Secretariat or the CCF could suggest that it be removed or changed if it doesn't follow Interpol's regulations, such as respecting human rights.
What is the role of National Central Bureaus (NCBs) in the Red Notice process?
NCBs are the main point of contact between Interpol and its member nations, hence they are very important to the Red Notice procedure. In the Red Notice procedure, some of the most important jobs of NCBs are:
  • Requesting for Red Notices: National Central Banks (NCBs) are in charge of asking for Red Notices on behalf of their countries.
  • Providing information: NCBs must give correct and enough information to back up Red Notice requests. This includes details about the alleged crime and any information that can be used to find the sought people.
  • Putting Red Notices into action: When a Red Notice is sent out, NCBs cooperate with their national law enforcement authorities to find, arrest, and, if necessary, extradite the people who are wanted.
  • Updating and changing Red Notices: NCBs are in charge of making sure the information in Red Notices is accurate and can ask for a notification to be taken down or changed if needed.
How do Red Notices contribute to international law enforcement cooperation?
Red Notices are an important tool for law enforcement agencies throughout the world to work together by:
  • Sharing information: Red Notices make it easy for information about wanted people to be sent quickly across borders, which helps law enforcement agencies find, identify, and catch them more quickly.
  • By sending out Red Notices, Interpol urges its member nations to cooperate together, creating a network of cooperation to fight international crime.
  • Raising awareness: Red Notices get the word out about high-profile or dangerous offenders, which makes it more likely that they will be caught and draws attention to specific crimes.
  • Extradition and mutual legal aid: Red Notices are the basis for extradition requests and mutual legal help between nations. This makes it easier to bring offenders to justice across borders.
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