Today’s post addresses the following question sent in by a reader:

I would like to ask you the follow question:
Can a member country of Interpol get a red notice, if this country has sentenced a person in absence, without this person was stopped and obviously without having knowledge that in some country she was prosecuting or sentencing?
Are the condemnations valid dictated in absence and without detention neither previous knowledge of the one imputed, so that Interpol emits a red notification?
The condemnations in absence are contrary to the Universal declaration of Human rights, is Interpol able to emit the red notification against this declaration?

This reader’s question goes straight to the heart of the problem inherent in cases where a defendant was sentenced in absentia and made the subject of a Red Notice.  Trials in absentia always carry the risk of due process violations.  This risk increases particularly when the trial takes place in a country without the procedural safeguards that ensure the preservation of an accused’s right to a fair trial.  

Very frequently, trials in absentia are reported to have occured in the complete absence of any notice to the accused; without the accused having any ability to confer with counsel; without the the accused’s ability to present a defense; and without any showing that the accused’s absence was either voluntary or willful.

In response to the reader’s question:

Yes, member countries do obtain Red Notices when subjects have been tried and convicted in absentia.

Yes, such convictions often violate international standards for fair and just trials.

And no, INTERPOL should not issue Red Notices when they are based on convictions where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was violated.  Once evidence of such violations is brought to INTERPOL’s attention, the Red Notice should be removed and destroyed according to INTERPOL’s rules.

As always, thoughts and comments are welcomed.