One of the means by which to challenge an INTERPOL Red Notice is to provide evidence that the document underlying the Notice is no longer valid. A recent example of such a challenge occurred when the Red Notice for Senator Panfilo Lacson of the Philippines was withdrawn. Senator Lacson had been the subject of a Red Notice since 2010. The warrant which led to the Red Notice being issued was based upon an indictment charging Senator Lacson with the murders of two people.
A Court of Appeals eventually found no probable cause for the pending murder indictment. The challenge to this Red Notice, however, reportedly came directly from the government itself rather than from a defense attorney. Once the court made its ruling, the Bureau of National Investigation immediately contacted INTERPOL to seek a withdrawal of the Notice.
The basis for this Red Notice removal was that a court of competent jurisdiction found an insufficient legal basis for the charges. If the charging document (the indictment, in this case) is invalid, then the arrest warrant based on the charging document is invalid, and therefore the Red Notice is not valid either. This does not necessarily mean that the Red Notice was never valid, however. If the charging document was found to be legally sufficient at an earlier point, then the Secretariat General properly allowed the dissemination of the Red Notice.
Although it was the government that requested that the Red Notice be withdrawn, Senator Lacson’s attorneys had maintained from the beginning that the warrant was legally insufficient and politically motivated. Back in 2010, they asserted that Lacson’s criticism of the Filipino government was the true motivation behind the warrant. In the end, though, the withdrawal was due to a legal infirmity.
As always, comments and thoughts are welcomed.