Mr. Friedman is also skilled at challenging Interpol Red Notices. Red Notices are often informally referred to as “international arrest” warrants but are more appropriately thought of as international arrest requests. Another member state is under no legal international law obligation to honor or enforce
this notice, but as a practical matter, it is normally considered grounds in most countries for an arrest or other form of detention.
Interpol is a transborder law enforcement organization with over 190 members. It was founded to provide the widest possible mutual assistance between all criminal police authorities within the limits of the law and consistent with international law. Interpol is globally recognized.
Each member state has a National Central Bureau or NCB whose purpose is to liaise with Interpol’s General Secretariat in order to share information and provide mutual assistance. One of Interpol’s core purposes is to provide international assistance in the sharing of information between member police agencies. As part of this purpose, it has created the highly controversial “Red Notice” system.*
Most Red Notices start with the NCB. (The International Criminal Court has also initiated some Red Notices). Red Notices are then shared with all member states. These notices can negatively impact a person’s ability to travel. While a country is not obligated to arrest an individual with a Red notice, most countries do.
The effect of a Red Notice can be catastrophic. Individuals who are the subject of these notices are considered wanted criminals throughout the world. For many people this makes international travel impossible. While red notices should never be issued for political crimes or conduct, many countries have discovered that this is a very effective tool for suppressing dissidents who have moved abroad.
A Red Notice can also interfere with a person’s ability to get refugee status. Under the 1951 Convention on the Rights of the Refugee, a country is not obligated to grant asylum status to an individual (even one fleeing persecution back home) who is wanted for or convicted of criminal offenses. Ironically, once refugee status is granted, Interpol will generally remove Red Notice.
Some Red Notices are public, but not all notices are public. A person has a right to obtain their Red Notice under the Interpol Rules, but the member state owns the content of the Notice. A large exception to this principal of ownership takes places once the individual receives knowledge of the content of the Notice through official channels. Then the content should become declassified. Mr. Friedman can help in getting the application and in helping to remove the same.
Similar to the Notice is another request for cooperation or alert mechanism known as a ‘diffusion’. This is less formal than a notice but is also used to request the arrest or location of an individual or additional information in relation to a police investigation. A diffusion is circulated directly by an National Central Bureau (Interpol Liaison Office) to the member countries of their choice, or to the entire INTERPOL membership and is simultaneously recorded in INTERPOL’s Information System.
The Commission for the Control of Interpol File’s or “CCIF” is an independent monitoring body located within Interpol who is charged with maintaining the integrity of the Interpol files. They maintain a procedure to challenge Red Notices and have a mechanism for disclosure of the underlying documents in some cases. Mr. Friedman is experienced in challenging Red Notices which is often essential for an individual to regain his or her freedom
There are several options available to those seeking to remove a red notice:
- Applying to the National Central Bureau of the country that issued the red notice, or the courts in that country, requesting its removal. This involves the retention of counsel in that country and only generally works in countries which have some adherence to the rule of law. In many of the more repressive regimes, it is almost impossible to obtain local counsel who will bring such challenges;
- Applying to the National Central Bureau in the asylum jurisdiction requesting the Bureau to intercede with Interpol to have the notice removed;
- Applying to the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s files (CCIF), which is tasked with ensuring that Interpol’s data processing complies with its constitutional rules, to have the notice removed,
- Pursuing the matter with Interpol’s General Assembly and Secretary General Jürgen Stock.
Most cases are taken to the CCIF. Attorney Stuart Friedman is one of the few US attorneys with experience in dealing with Red Notices and their removal.
*Interpol issues a variety of other “color” notices for stolen property, missing persons, international threats, known international criminals who are currently not wanted, and more. For more on these other notices, click here.