Politically motivated charges
The issuing of a red notice or a diffusion by Interpol can have a devastating impact on your freedom. In some countries people have to deal with a high level of corruption or an unstable political situation. In situations like these there is a risk of the abuse of the system of Interpol in the pursuit of political objectives. The Interpol system may, for example, be used for persecuting members of the political opposition or repressing free media beyond the borders of the requesting country.
Interpol’s activities, including the proceedings of issuing red notices, are limited and defined by its Constitution. Interpol has a duty to ensure that its notices comply with these rules before they are processed.
How to prevent Human Rights violations
In order to understand how to challenge an Interpol red notice it's important to have some knowledge of Interpol's legal framework.
- Article 2 of Interpol’s Constitution states that the Organization should "ensure and promote the widest possible mutual assistance between all criminal police authorities within the limits of the laws existing in the different countries and in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights".
- The Rules on the Processing of Data (RPD) provide that "data processing in the Interpol Information System should be authorized with due regard for the law applicable to the National Central Bureau (NCB), national entity or international entity and should respect the basic rights of the persons who are the subject of the cooperation, in accordance with article 2 of the Organization's Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which the said article refers".
- Interpol’s Constitution states that the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Rules (CCF) shall ensure that the processing of personal data by the Organization is in compliance with the regulations the Organization establishes in this matter".
- Furthermore the Statute of the CCF establishes that the powers of the CCF are limited to controlling whether the processing of data in Interpol's files meets Interpol's applicable legal requirements.
Matters of political character
Article 3 of Interpol’s Constitution states that;
- "it is strictly forbidden for the Organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political (...) character''.
The relevant text of the RPD states the following:
- "(...) prior to any recording of data in a police database, the National Central Bureau, national entity or international entity shall ensure that the data are in compliance with article 3 of the Organization's Constitution" and;
- "To determine whether data comply with article 3 of the Constitution, all relevant elements shall be examined, such as:
- (a) nature of the offence, namely the charges and underlying facts;
- (b) status of the persons concerned;
- (c) identity of the source of the data;
- (d) the position expressed by another National Central Bureau or another international entity;
- (e) obligations under international law;
- (f) implications for the neutrality of the Organization;
- (g) the general context of the case."
Effective participation of an individual in the acts he/she is accused of must be explained. Red notices may only be published when sufficient judicial data has been provided. Sufficient judicial data will be considered to include at least a summary of the facts of the case, which shall provide a succinct and clear description of the criminal activities of the wanted person, including the time and location of the alleged criminal activity.
In case of abuse; how to deal with confidentiality issues?
Interpol has a duty to ensure that its notices comply with these rules before they are processed.
However, we have experienced the abuse of Interpol’s notice system in some cases.
In these situations, assistance of a legal expert is required. In many cases we have to deal with complicated confidentiality issues. People who are subject of red notices are often understandably reluctant to disclose information regarding corruption, simply because the same corrupt officials are capable of taking action against their family, friends (political / journalist) colleagues or business partners.
Our lawyers know how to deal and how to communicate with Interpol and in particular with the CCF in order to prevent that local NCB's, local officials, will misuse or abuse (confidential) information.
No red notice if granted refugee status - principle of non-refoulement
If an individual has been granted refugee status an Interpol (red) notice must be deleted.
Interpol should delete a notice if an extradition court has issued a final and reasoned decision to the effect that the criminal proceedings giving rise to the notice are politically motivated (or improperly motivated by any other considerations arising under the Refugee Convention) or that they are an abuse of process. This would restore the purposive connection between red notices and extradition, and ensure that individuals cannot become a virtual prisoner in the state where they have successfully contested extradition. However, Interpol General Assembly Resolution of 1984 states that: ''if certain countries refuse extradition, this is reported to the other NCB's in an addendum to the original notice.''
Under international human rights law, the principle of non-refoulement guarantees that no one should be returned to a country where they would face torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and other irreparable harm. This principle applies to all migrants at all times, irrespective of migration status. According to Interpol's refugee policy, Interpol should generally refrain from processing data to request the arrest in view of extradition of an individual recognized as a refugee, when such data is provided by his/her country of origin, in connection with the principle of non-refoulement.
Worldwide legal assistance Kaarls Strafrechtadvocaten
Our lawyers have represented clients who have been arrested on extradition requests from many countries. We have a particular expertise in cases with Human Rights arguments. We handle Interpol red notice removal requests in complex cases with a predominant political character.
The attorneys of Kaarls Strafrechtadvocaten have successfully challenged Interpol red notices and diffusions in politically motivated cases. If necessary, we cooperate with our worldwide legal network. We may instruct local lawyers based in the state issuing the request for the red notice, for example to obtain information which can assist us in seeking the removal of the red notice. Our law firm can provide you with legal assistance in matters regarding criminal law and extradition law worldwide.