• Shahid Bolsen

Interpol’s gesture of transparency


In response to both the increasing misuse of Interpol Red Notices by countries like the United Arab Emirates, and the lobbying by organisations like Detained in Dubai for greater transparency; Interpol has decided to begin publishing limited details on their website about Red Notices that have been removed.

It is hoped that this will discourage inappropriate reports to Interpol for frivolous matters that do not fall within the organisation’s mandate. Interpol will publish the reasons for their removal of a given Red Notice, apparently as an indirect instruction so that countries will be more careful about meeting Interpol’s criteria. However, if reports continue to be made that do not fall within Interpol’s mandate, they will still usually result in the issuance of a Red Notice, and they will still need to be challenged.

It is almost like Interpol is saying, “we will remove Red Notices for these reasons, but we won’t refuse to issue a Red Notice for these reasons”. How exactly this will prevent frivolous Red Notices is anyone’s guess. “If Interpol can recognise that a Red Notice has been requested for a reason that does not meet their criteria, one would think they should refuse the request outright, not wait for the Red Notice to be challenged”, says Radha Stirling , CEO and Founder of Detained in Dubai. “We liaise with Interpol on behalf of clients all the time, and have a perfect track record for Red Notice removals; but what actually needs to happen is for Interpol to exercise greater scrutiny of Red Notice requests, so that inappropriate reports will not need to be challenged.”

Requesting a Red Notice removal can be a daunting and complicated process. One needs to understand the protocols and regulations of Interpol, not merely the details of one’s case or the arguments that prove their innocence. “We have had clients who hired lawyers to request a Red Notice removal, and submitted pages and pages of arguments and the Red Notice remains”, Stirling explains. “To a great degree, most people, including lawyers, do not really understand what Interpol is, what they do, and how they work. At the end of the day it is a bureaucracy and they adhere to their own internal protocols which need to be navigated meticulously when trying to remove a Red Notice. Unfortunately, these protocols do not seem to be as carefully followed before a Red Notice is issued.”


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