A reader recently contacted Red Notice Law Journal to inquire about INTERPOL’s role in child kidnapping cases. This question  is unfortunately more common than one might imagine, and is likely to become more so as we continue to evolve into a more and more transient world.

INTERPOL’s involvement in child kidnapping, or abduction, cases, primarily involves Red Notices for the person accused of wrongfully taking the child out of an INTERPOL member country, and Yellow Notices for the child who is thought to have been wrongfully taken.

A Red Notice is issued when a person is wanted for a crime. This means that, until an arrest warrant (or its equivalent) for a criminal act has been issued for a person accused of kidnapping a child, INTERPOL cannot be used to assist in finding the accused person.

A Yellow Notice is issued for missing persons who have been kidnapped or have disappeared without explanation. No criminal charge is necessarily required for this type of notice to be issued regarding a missing child. For parents seeking the whereabouts of their children, even if there is no actual criminal charge pending against anyone for taking the child, a Yellow Notice may be requested through local law enforcement authorities.

Certainly, there are times when a Red Notice is improperly requested by a parent with the assistance of local law enforcement, often when a custodial parent has moved in compliance with a court order out of the country. In such instances, local law enforcement and INTERPOL may have no way of knowing that the Red Notice request was improperly requested until the custodial parent learns of the notice and informs INTERPOL of the actual nature of the case.

As always, thoughts and comments are welcomed.

A few weeks ago, a reader contacted me to discuss a Red Notice that had been wrongly issued against him for “kidnapping” his own child.  The charges were brought falsely in another country, which led to the Red Notice being issued.  Luckily, he had valid court orders showing that he was the custodial parent.  He had already begun the process of challenging the Red Notice, and was hoping to hear from INTERPOL in the near future.  However, his optimism was guarded because of the harrowing experience he has undergone in the last few years:  he lost his job, he lost his ability to travel, and he lost his feeling of freedom.  The one thing he has not lost is his child.

Today, I read the story of another father on the other side of a Red Notice issued for a custodial matter. His child’s mother has been indicted for removing the child from his lawful custody in the United States and fleeing with her to the United Arab Emirates.  The mother and her parents are the subjects of Red Notices, and the child is the subject of a Yellow Notice.  

I am struck by the fact that these two fathers, both innocent according to all available documentation, are living their lives while tethered to INTERPOL.  Of course, one is appealing to INTERPOL for relief, and the other for assistance.  Assuming that INTERPOL acts in accordance with its own regulations, both should be successful.

For their sakes, and for their children’s sakes, let’s hope they are.

As always, thoughts and comments are welcomed.