When the phone call comes that a client may be, or is, the subject of an INTERPOL Red Notice, an attorney’s immediate response may be to start thinking about an extradition hearing. That’s good, but it’s not always enough.

A client can greatly benefit from the attorney’s investigation into whether INTERPOL does, in fact, possess any information on the client, and if a Red Notice has been issued, whether the Notice was properly issued.  As noted in the very thoughtful book, The Legal Foundations of Interpol, by Rutsel Silverstre J. Martha, 2010, INTERPOL may refuse to acknowledge possession or non-possession of information on a person.  However, once it is public, there is generally no objection to the information’s release upon request by an authorized person.

When the existence of a Red Notice has been confirmed, in addition to a working knowledge of

  • INTERPOL’s constitution,
  • text,
  • agreements, 
  • resolutions, and
  • pertinent treaties,

the attorney will either need to know the relevant law of the country that requested the Notice, or to co-counsel with an attorney who does. Only by understanding the law in the originating country is the attorney fully able to determine the applicability of INTERPOL’s available remedies for the client. Part of the legal investigation may involve the acquisition of documents related to the criminal investigation against the client. Obviously, the more oppressive the regime of the requesting country, the more difficult it may be to obtain documentation of the history of the client’s warrant. 

It is also critical to the challenge of a Red Notice to understand and document the political background and atmosphere of the requesting country, particularly as it applies to the client individually. This element of representation requires extremely thorough interviews with the client and witnesses to his or her political activity, if the challenge is politically based, as well as a compilation of evidence to demonstrate any such activity.

As always, comments and thoughts are welcomed.