Because INTERPOL respects the sovereignty of its member nations, it cannot and does not conduct its own on-the-ground investigation of a purported crime. A Red Notice is NOT an arrest warrant and is NOT based on any INTERPOL investigation. A Red Notice adds no additional force to an otherwise valid arrest warrant. The only facts a Red Notice proves, are that the requesting nation is a member of INTERPOL, that it has completed the online form requesting the Notice, and that the case did not initially raise political or other improper motives within the internal INTERPOL vetting process.
The fact that the process for obtaining a Red Notice is straightforward, and the reality that a Red Notice often has substantial direct and indirect effects on the individual named in it has encouraged authoritarian regimes to use Red Notices—and, less frequently, other colored Notices or diffusions—to harass dissidents, exiles, or other politically or financially inconvenient opponents abroad.
“INTERPOL abuse” occurs when INTERPOL’s channels or publications are used by an INTERPOL member nation for predominantly political, military, racial, or religious reasons. This type of abuse is a violation of INTERPOL’s own Constitution and specifically Article 3. Governments, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations (NGO), and experts have attested to the reality of INTERPOL abuse. Immigration attorneys also witness firsthand the damage that a Red Notice can do to an innocent client who is processing a visa, a green card, a naturalization case, or an asylum case, among other applications for immigration benefits. Click here to see our very own Sandra Grossman’s testimony before the U.S. Helsinki Commission on the issue of curbing INTERPOL abuse by autocratic nations.