“But I’m innocent!” Clients who are the subjects of Red Notices frequently and understandably feel a sense of outrage over the fact that a Red Notice has been issued against them when they are in fact innocent of the charges in the underlying arrest warrant.
When clients ask if INTERPOL will withdraw a Red Notice based on innocence, the unfortunate answer is, no. In fact, INTERPOL clearly states that the persons who are subjects of Red Notices are to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. INTERPOL is not a trier of fact. It acts as a communicator of information between law enforcement agencies, and aids in bringing the subjects of Red Notices before the proper authority for trial or sentencing.
So when a person offers only innocence as a challenge to a Red Notice, INTERPOL’s response will be the same as Tommy Lee Jones’ U.S. Marshall character in the movie, The Fugitive, when a sentenced fugitive tells him, “I didn’t kill my wife!” Just as INTERPOL does not determine innocence or guilt, neither does the U.S. Marshall. Of course, his response is: “I don’t care.” INTERPOL is only compelled to remove a Red Notice when a wanted person or her attorney presents the organization with compelling evidence that maintaining the Red Notice would violate its rules.
As always, thoughts and comments are welcomed.
(This post was originally published on in June of 2011 by Red Notice Law Journal and is published here with additional information.)