Interpol Red Notices

With increasing International co-operation in the fight against organised crime and terrorism, it should come as no surprise that record numbers of Interpol red notices are being issued year on year.

If you are named on a red notice we suggest you seek urgent legal advice. We can advise on immediate mitigating measures.  There will inevitably be reputational and other consequences for anyone named on a list often referred to as that of the ”most wanted international criminals.” 

In particular you will need to be aware of the likelihood of arrest when crossing international borders. It is also not uncommon for anyone named on a red notice to find employers using this as an excuse for disciplinary action, immigration concerns may arise and individuals may also face problems often in obtaining credit and bank account facilities.

Defending A Red Notice

Anyone named in a red notice has the right to seek its removal.  The rules governing red notice appeals allow individuals to apply to the CCIF, Interpol’s internal review body. BSQ’s international crime team headed by Roger Sahota, has extensive experience of advising individuals in challenging red notices and in making deletion applications to the CCIF.

The CCIF is based in Lyon and is an independent body within Interpol. Amongst its responsibilities it has the power to review and recommend the revocation of red notices. A final decision as to whether a red notice should stand is taken by Interpol having taking advice from the CCIF.

Interpol will issue a red notice when requested to do so by one of it’s 190 member states. This normally occurs where a provisional arrest warrant is outstanding and the requesting state seeks the extradition of a named individual.

The red notice is recorded on Interpol’s noticeboard and database and circulated amongst the world’s police forces.    While a red notice is not an arrest warrant, many states believe it provides sufficient grounds to arrest and detain someone pending their extradition.

Experience has shown us that red notices are often open to abuse, particularly in the manipulation of the system by member states to political or other ends. This is often the case with countries that do not uphold international minimum human rights standards. 

Deciding on what is the right strategy when challenging a red notice will depend on the facts of each particular case.

Options include;

  • Appealing to the requesting state, normally with the help of local lawyers that the underlying domestic warrant revoked
  • Liaising with the domestic authorities such as the NCA (National Crime Agency )in the UK to have the notice removed
  • Petitioning the CCIF for revocation – see below.  

Appealing to the CCIF

Most typically appeals arise because it is alleged that a member state has violated Articles 83 or 76 of interpol’s constitution i.e. that they seek an individual’s arrest not for criminal conduct but for activities of a “political, military, religious or racial character.”

The rules governing CCIF’s procedure are complicated and have been criticised for their lack of transparency. For example, there is no right to a hearing, or to disclosure of the material provided to Interpol when the red notice request was made. Long delays are commonplace.

There is also no mechanism for an appeal against any decision taken by Interpol after considering the CCIA’s recommendations.

We specialise in challenging red notices particularly from Russia and the former C.I.S. countries i.e. Azerbaijan,  Georgia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia. We also work with local lawyers to prevent and forestall any extradition request and revoke red notices.

Our team also has many years of experience in dealing with ancillary issues such as extradition and mutual assistance requests.

Please contact our London office if you require urgent legal advice in relation to an Interpol red notice.