Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

NO statement, opinion, article, post, or any other material or information on this website is intended to be legal advice or applied in a particular case. If you believe you have been the subject of an international search involving INTERPOL, we urge you NOT to act on any statement, opinion, article, post, or any other material or information on this website. Instead, we urge you to seek legal advice from a lawyer as soon as possible.

Any and all statements, articles, posts, and any other material and information on this website represent their respective authors’ opinions only.


What is a red notice?

A red notice is a request for international cooperation to seek the location and arrest, detention, or restriction of movement of a wanted person for the purpose of his/her extradition or similar lawful action. A red notice can be submitted for dissemination among INTERPOL member countries by a government or an international entity (e.g., an international tribunal).


What is a diffusion? Is there a difference between red notices and diffusions?

Like red notices, diffusions can serve as requests for international cooperation to seek the location and arrest of wanted individuals. Diffusions may have the same consequences as red notices. Unlike red notices, however, diffusions can be recorded in INTERPOL’s databases without a preliminary check from the INTERPOL General Secretariat. INTERPOL member countries are free to choose whether to use a red notice or diffusion in any particular case. Diffusions often present a greater danger than red notices because they allow governments that abuse INTERPOL’s channels to escape any review by the INTERPOL General Secretariat prior to their publication.


My search on the INTERPOL website does not return any information about me. Does it mean there is no red notice or diffusion against me recorded in INTERPOL’s files?

Under its regulations, INTERPOL publishes information about a red notice or diffusion on its website only if the government so requests. Otherwise, such information is not available to the general public. Any information about red notices and diffusions published on the INTERPOL website represents a small fraction of all red notices and diffusions recorded in INTERPOL’s databases. Therefore, it is important to remember that a search on the INTERPOL website that does not return any results about the individual does not mean there is no red notice or diffusion against him/her recorded in INTERPOL’s files.


Can a red notice or diffusion have consequences other than an arrest or extradition?

Arrest and extradition are not the only consequences of a red notice or diffusion. There have been instances of individuals losing jobs, individual bank accounts closed, asylum applications denied, and travel visas canceled due to red notices and diffusions.


On what basis can an individual challenge a red notice or diffusion?

INTERPOL’ Constitution and its Rules on the Processing of Data provide several grounds for challenging a red notice or diffusion, for example:

  • Article 3 of INTERPOL’s Constitution “strictly forbid[s] . . . the Organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.”
  • Article 2 of INTERPOL’s Constitution requires that any international cooperation via INTERPOL’s channels conducted in accordance with the member countries’ national laws and “in the spirits of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
  • INTERPOL’s Rules on the Processing of Data require that INTERPOL refuse to cooperate if the offense behind the red notice or diffusion derives from a private dispute.

Who is responsible for adjudicating requests for information and complaints from individuals challenging red notices and diffusions?

The Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files (CCF) has the exclusive power to adjudicate complaints, prelimiary requests, and requests for information received from individuals. The Commission is independent from INTERPOL and its member countries. Its decisions are final and binding on INTERPOL.


Do refugees enjoy special treatment?

In early 2015, INTERPOL introduced a new policy regarding red notices and diffusions against refugees. More on this: INTERPOL’s New Policy on Refugees.


How long does it take to have a request for access and complaint adjudicated?

The Statute of the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files requires that the Commission (CCF) adjudicates requests from individuals within the following time limits:

  • requests for access: within 4 months from the date the request was declared admissible, and
  • complaints (requests for correction and/or deletion of data): within 9 months from the date the request was declared admissible.

Depending on the circumstances of the case, the Commission may extend these deadlines.


My request to delete a red notice (diffusion) was denied. Can I appeal?

Under the Statute of the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files, an individual has the right to apply for the revision of a decision denying his/her request provided the application for revision is based on the “discovery of facts which could have led the Requests Chamber to a different conclusion if that fact had been known at the time at which the request was being processed.” Applications for revision must be made within 6 months from the discovery of the fact.


 

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