Interpol Red Notice Case Study: Due Process & Human Rights

The Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s files (CCF) is responsible for ensuring that the processing of data in INTERPOL’s files meets the organisation’s applicable legal requirements. We present a summary of a case from 2017 in which the CCF reviewed a request to delete an INTERPOL Red Notice.


The facts

  • The Applicant is a national of Country B, and he used to work as a businessperson in Country A.
  • He is the subject of five different red notices issued at the request of the NCB of Country A, all of them for the same charges of “Uttering unfunded cheques”.


The Applicant’s request

The Applicant requested access to the data concerning him registered in INTERPOL’s files, as well as its deletion. He contended that:

  • The purpose of the Red Notices had already been achieved as his location was known.
  • The case was not of a criminal nature but rather of a civil nature, linked to a private dispute.
  • The proceedings did not respect the principles of due process and human rights, as he had never been notified of the proceedings, and as he had been judged in absentia, without the possibility to present his defence.


The Commission’s findings

The Commission reviewed the Applicant’s contentions in the order described above.


Lack of Purpose

The Commission recalled that the purpose of a Red Notice is not only to locate a person, but also to request his/her provisional arrest in view of extradition. The Commission found that the Applicant’s argument was not sufficient to consider that there was no genuine willingness of Country A’s authorities to respect their obligations under applicable law, and that the notices still had a valid purpose.


Lack of Criminal Nature

The Commission found that while the offence in question was a criminal offence in Country A, it would probably not be recognised as an extraditable offence in many other countries, and would likely not warrant international police cooperation.

However, the Commission held that in this specific instance, the fact that the Applicant had been convicted for the same criminal acts in five different cases may signify fraudulent activity, which may give rise to different charges under various domestic laws and, in fine, allow for international police cooperation.

The Commission therefore held that the reservations raised earlier were not sufficient to conclude that the case lacked criminal nature.


Compliance with due process and human rights

The Commission noted that the NCB of Country A stated that the applicant had fled abroad and absconded before he could be brought to justice, and that he was provided with sufficient notice of the proceedings. It also explained that the judgement was issued in absentia in accordance with the national legislation, and stressed that the Applicant would have the right to appeal the judgements upon his surrender to Country A, as well as to present his defence and appoint a lawyer of his own choosing.

The Commission therefore found that the Applicant’s claims concerning the lack of due process of the criminal proceedings against him could not be upheld.


The result

The Commission decided that the data challenged were compliant with INTERPOL’s rules applicable to the processing of personal data.

Nyman Gibson Miralis provides expert advice and representation in INTERPOL-related criminal investigations and is experienced in having Red Notices successfully removed.

Contact us if you require assistance.