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PACE calls for better checks on Interpol’s ‘red notices’ to end abuse

PACE has called on Interpol to conduct better checks on the people targeted for arrest in “red notices” to prevent certain states more effectively from abusing the system in order to persecute political opponents beyond their borders.

“Red notices”, which allow police in one country to seek the arrest of a wanted person in another, should be circulated by Interpol only when there are “serious grounds for suspicion against the targeted person”, the Assembly said.

In a resolution, based on a report by Bernd Fabritius (Germany, EPP/CD), PACE also said that Council of Europe member States should refuse to carry out arrests on the basis of “red notices” if they had serious concerns such notices were abusive.

The Assembly welcomed recent changes to the “red notice” system adopted by Interpol in November 2016, but said there could be further improvement. It called for:

• increased resources for those tasked with vetting “red notice” requests;

• close examination of repeated “red notice” requests from the same country, targeting the same person, after earlier requests had been rejected;

• making use of information from UN and Council of Europe bodies on difficult cases;

PACE also called for a stronger appeals mechanism, fully independent of Interpol, which would allow targeted persons or their lawyers to be informed of “red notices” against them, and to comment on the reasons given for their issue.

States who repeatedly made abusive requests should be subjected to more intense scrutiny and made to pay for the extra cost.

There has been a steep increase in the use of Interpol “red notices”, with more than 12,000 issued in 2016 alone.