When we hear the word “fugitive”, an image may come to mind of Harrison Ford plummeting down Cheoah Dam in North Carolina.
But what exactly is a fugitive?
According to INTERPOL, a fugitive is someone attempting to evade justice. This can occur in various scenarios, including that the person in question has:
- Been charged with a violation of the law but not been arrested.
- Been released on bail and then fled to avoid prosecution.
- Escaped from prison.
A typical characteristic of fugitives is that they are mobile and travelling between countries. This is often facilitated through using fraudulent identification and travel documents, and the commission of further crimes to allow them to continue to evade law enforcement.
How does INTERPOL help to locate fugitives?
Locating fugitives requires a high level of cooperation between governments, police authorities and international organisations.
INTERPOL assists countries to locate and arrest fugitives through the use of Red Notices and the provision of operational support.
INTERPOL Red Notices seek the provisional arrest of a wanted person, with a view to extradition. An electronic alert is circulated to police in all member countries, containing information about the wanted person and the charges they face.
The Red Notice system facilitates international cooperation and helps to ensure that fugitives cannot continue to cross borders and evade law enforcement.
INTERPOL provides international support to law enforcement, investigators and courts to assist with fugitive investigations. This is achieved through a variety of methods including:
- Focused projects – e.g. projects supporting searches for individuals wanted for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.
- Conferences and working groups.
- Targeted operations – e.g. “Operation Infra” targets the most serious international fugitives who have committed crimes such as murder, child sexual abuse, drug trafficking and money laundering, and are subject to INTERPOL Red Notices or international wanted persons alerts.
- Developing best practices in fugitive investigations.
- Training and development – e.g. a recent initiative focused on strengthening the policing capabilities in six Latin American countries, enhancing investigations and cooperation.
- Creating a global network of specialist fugitive investigators.