- Russia, China, Iran and Turkey are suspected of abusing the system for political purposes
- Interpol should assess requests for arrest before issuing a “Red Notice”
- Member states are not obliged to follow up on a “Red Notice”
MEPs want a review of the Interpol system of Red Notices to avoid non-democratic regimes using it to persecute political opponents abroad.
In a debate with Commissioner Jourová, a majority of speakers called for a mechanism that ensures respect of the principles of “necessity and proportionality” when a Red Notice is issued.
They considered evidence that countries like Russia, China, Iran and Turkey are abusing the current system for political purposes and insisted that Interpol should assess the cases before approving the request to issue a Red Notice.
On behalf of the Council, the Estonian Deputy Minister for EU Affairs, Matti Maasikas, announced that this issue will be discussed in a meeting next month between EU officials and Interpol representatives. While the Red Notice system is a “useful tool”, it is essential to safeguard the rights of citizens, and particularly to have a system of redress in place.
Commissioner Jourová noted that the overwhelming majority of Red Notices are used to arrest serious offenders and insisted that exchanging information via Interpol is key. She also underlined that national authorities are not obliged to follow a Red Notice, “it is up to the country to assess what action to take”, taking into consideration, she suggested, the country from which the notice originates.
A Red Notice is a request to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition. It is issued by Interpol at the request of a member country or an international tribunal, based on a valid national arrest warrant. It is not an international arrest warrant and does not automatically lead to extradition, which requires an additional court decision.
Two writers with dual Swedish/Turkish and German/Turkish nationalities critical of the Erdoğan regime were detained in August in Spain following Red Notices issued at the request of Turkey. Both have been provisionally released awaiting decisions on their extradition requests.
You can catch up with the debate via Plenary on demand.