- What is Interpol, and what is its purpose?
- What international wanted list can be published in the Interpol databases?
- What are the conditions for publishing an international wanted list (red notice)?
- Does the Interpol wanted list (red notice) mean that there is suspicion and a court decision on detention in Ukraine?
- Can a person be informed of suspicion and a preventive measure be chosen in the form of detention during the absence of this person in Ukraine?
- What happens when the Interpol putting on international wanted list is triggered when crossing the border?
- What can be the preventive measures as to an illegal putting a person on international wanted list?
- How do I check if a person is present in databases?
- Is it possible to delete information from the Interpol database?
Features of international search through the Interpol channels
Putting a person on an international wanted list is one of the most common tools for abuse in criminal cases, especially in relation with the so-called “white-collar workers”. Most commonly, a person does not even know that they are wanted by Interpol, and only finds out about it when crossing the border, when they are already detained.
We have prepared answers to the most pressing questions that arise in connection with the putting on international wanted list through the Interpol channels. In particular, we will tell you whether it is possible to prevent the publication of an illegal putting on international wanted list, check the availability of information in databases and whether it is possible to delete such information from the Interpol system.
What is Interpol, and what is its purpose?
Interpol is an International Criminal Police Organization. One of the tasks of Interpol is to unite efforts between all criminal police bodies within the framework of the legislation of different countries in the fight against criminal maleficence. Among the main activities of Interpol is the coordination of putting on international wanted list by processing data in the Interpol information system.
What international wanted list can be published in the Interpol databases?
Conditionally, the international wanted list can be divided into two groups: notices and diffusions.
Depending on the purpose and the task of the cooperation request, the following notices are distinguished: red, blue, green, yellow, black, purple, orange, special, and alerts about stolen cultural property. Cooperation requests are published in the form of a notice and are reflected in all Interpol member countries.
Diffusions, or, in other words, circular alerts (circulars) are also requests for international cooperation, in particular on detention, arrest, and extradition. A special feature of circulars is that although they are registered in the Interpol database, they are only available for one or more countries. This is why circular alerts are more dangerous.
If a person was detained in connection with putting a person on international wanted list through the Interpol channels, a red notice or circular alert was issued against them.
What are the conditions for publishing an international wanted list (red notice)?
A red notice can be published, in particular, under the following conditions:
- the crime is a serious common law crime and is recognized as criminal in most countries;
- putting a person on international wanted list is aimed at bringing to justice if the minimum term of sentence is not less than 2 years of imprisonment, or at serving a sentence of at least 6 months of imprisonment;
- the request corresponds to the purpose of Interpol, is of interest for the purposes of international cooperation, and is not an instrument of illegal prosecution (political, military, religious or racial prosecution, administrative violations, private law disputes, etc.);
- a person is put on a wanted list in accordance with the procedure established by law for bringing to justice/for serving a sentence;
- there is a valid arrest warrant (a court order to apply a preventive measure in the form of detention to a person).
Does the Interpol wanted list (red notice) mean that there is suspicion and a court decision on detention in Ukraine?
Yes, if a person is in the Interpol information system as wanted (red notice), in Ukraine they were informed of suspicion, and the court issued a decision on the application of a preventive measure in the form of detention.
However, the occurrence of such circumstances does not indicate their unconditional lawfulness and legality and can be appealed in court.
Can a person be informed of suspicion and a preventive measure be chosen in the form of detention during the absence of this person in Ukraine?
Yes, if there are appropriate prerequisites, this is possible and fixed at the legislative level.
Here is a practical example. There are criminal proceedings. The subject of the investigation is the facts in which a person allegedly could have been involved. Let’s say they were even questioned as a witness (for example, a year ago), but the notice of suspicion was not drawn up and served. Then, for certain reasons, the person left abroad for a long time (treatment, rest, etc.). This was the starting point.
According to investigators, the person, being aware of the existence of a criminal case against them, with the aim of 1) avoiding criminal liability for the crime committed; 2) hiding from the competent authorities, – left Ukraine.
To prove the fact of concealment, the investigation will collect evidence of departure from Ukraine and evidence of the default of appearance to the competent authorities.
Then it will draw up a notice of suspicion and serve it to one of the family members, condominiums, or at the place of work, send it by mail to the registration address. In such circumstances, the investigation will appoint the person as a “suspect in criminal proceedings”.
After that, the person will first be put on the national and then on the international wanted list, and then the prosecution will apply to the court to choose a preventive measure in the form of detention.
It will be presented to the court that the person left Ukraine intentionally, and therefore was put on the international wanted list. The court, being confident in the concealment of the person and the convincing evidence of the prosecution, is highly likely to make a decision on the application of a preventive measure in the form of detention to the person.
After that, law enforcement agencies will publish an international wanted list (red notice) through the National Central Bureau of Interpol in Ukraine.
Then it’s only a matter of time before the person is detained, although they didn’t know anything about it.
What happens when the Interpol putting on international wanted list is triggered when crossing the border?
If a person is identified as being wanted through the Interpol channels, the following events may develop in Ukraine:
- detention of a person;
- personal search;
- drawing up a protocol on the detention of a person;
- transfer to law enforcement agencies;
- delivery to the court to resolve the issue of arrest;
- if an extradition request is received, actual extradition.
However, the extradition of a person at the request of a foreign state is not mandatory. In particular, Ukraine may refuse to extradite a person if:
- a person is a citizen of Ukraine, has received refugee status or asylum in Ukraine;
- the crime does not provide for a sentence in the form of imprisonment under the law of Ukraine;
- the statute of limitations for bringing a person to criminal justice or executing a sentence for a crime under the law of Ukraine has expired;
- extradition contradicts Ukraine’s obligations under international treaties or the interests of national security of Ukraine;
- Ukraine has not been provided with an extradition request and/or additional materials, without which it is impossible to make a decision on the extradition of a person;
- there are other grounds provided for by an international treaty of Ukraine or, conversely, there is no corresponding international legal treaty between the countries.
What can be the preventive measures as to an illegal putting a person on international wanted list?
If there are sufficient grounds to believe that the law enforcement agencies of Ukraine are interested in the illegal prosecution of a person, you can apply to Interpol with a so-called “preventive request”.
The main purpose of such a request is to warn Interpol about the high probability of illegal prosecution.
As a result, the person will be informed about the receipt and content of the request to publish a search notice. Such a request will be blocked, and Interpol will have the right to request additional information to verify the legality and compliance of the request with the Interpol requirements. If the publication request does not meet the requirements of Interpol, the wanted list will not be published.
How do I check if a person is present in databases?
If there are grounds to believe that the person was put on the wanted list through the Interpol channels, such information can be checked on the Interpol website (View Red Notices). However, the web resource does not contain a complete list of wanted persons, and therefore it is advisable to appeal to Interpol with a request for access to Interpol information.
Based on the results of the appeal, in particular, the information about the presence/absence of a person in the Interpol databases, the form of a wanted list (notice/diffusion), and concise information in connection with which criminal proceedings the person is wanted, under what articles, and in which country, will be provided.
Is it possible to delete information from the Interpol database?
Yes. If the grounds for deleting information are established, Interpol must be contacted with a request to delete information from the Interpol database (deletion request).
If the request is granted, the information will be deleted and a corresponding confirmation will be provided. The person will also be informed about further actions of Interpol based on the results of consideration of the request.
Definitely, the detention due to putting on international wanted list is an unpleasant procedure. However, it does not do to panic. Usually, the shortcomings of actions taken by law enforcement agencies to publish an international wanted list in the Interpol databases give grounds for deleting such information about the Client.
Of course, to avoid stress due to an unexpected detention, we advise you to take preventive measures and make sure in advance that there is no information about the international wanted list in the Interpol databases.
Partner, Head of Criminal Law and White Collar Defence practice, Attorney at law
- The Legal 500 EMEA 2022