What is an Interpol notice?
An Interpol notice is an international alert circulated by Interpol to communicate information about crimes, criminals, and threats by police in a member state (or an authorised international entity) to their counterparts around the world.
Types of notices
There are eight types of notices, seven of which are colour-coded by their function: Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Black, Orange, and Purple. The most well-known notice is the Red Notice which is the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant in use today. An eighth Special Notice is issued at the request of the United Nations Security Council.
Notices published by Interpol are made either on the organisation’s own initiative or are based on requests from National Central Bureaus (NCBs) of member states or authorised international entities such as the United Nations and the International Criminal Court.
It is under a Red Notice, which was earlier called Red Corner Notice, that arrest in a foreign country is covered. According to Interpol, a Red Notice is a request to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition. It is issued by the General Secretariat at the request of a member country or an international tribunal based on a valid national arrest warrant.
Red Notice Not binding
A Red Notice in itself does not confirm that the wanted individual will actually be arrested. The success of a Red Notice depends on the diplomatic heft of the requesting country. According to Interpol, a Red Notice is not an international arrest warrant. Interpol cannot compel any member country to arrest an individual who is the subject of a Red Notice. Each member country decides for itself what legal value to give a Red Notice within their borders.
When Interpol publishes a Red Notice, its purpose is simply to inform all member countries that the person is wanted based on an arrest warrant or equivalent judicial decision issued by a country or an international tribunal. Interpol does not issue arrest warrants.
For example, Red Notices against fugitives wanted by India in Pakistan, such as Dawood Ibrahim, have not led to their arrest. Again, the UK has detained many individuals wanted in India based on Red (Corner) Notices but sent only one to India so far. On the other hand, Indonesia detained underworld don Chhota Rajan based on a Red Notice and sent him to India in 2016.
Options after Red Notice
Interpol also gives an individual the right to contest a Red Notice published against him. An accused can challenge a Red Notice in the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files.
Of late, Interpol has been allowing accused individuals to intervene on Red Notice requests, too. Accused such as Choksi, Zakir Naik and Lalit Modi, have raised objections and queries on Red Notice requests against them. Indian agencies believe that Interpol must allow accused to challenge a Red Notice only after it is published.