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Interpol Red Notices and Diffusions: Powerful — And Dangerous — Tools of Global Law Enforcement
By Jacques Semmelman and Emily Spencer Munson
A client, who has been under investigation in a foreign country, asks counsel if it is safe to travel internationally, or if there is a risk of arrest and detention even in countries that are not involved in the matter under investigation. That question implicates a powerful tool of global law enforcement known as a “Red Notice,” and an even more powerful tool called a “Diffusion.” These devices are issued and circulated by and through Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization. A Red Notice, issued by Interpol at the request of a member country, seeks the arrest of an individual in any of Interpol’s 190 member countries. A Diffusion is a unilateral notice from an Interpol member country, often requesting the arrest of an individual. It is disseminated through Interpol, but lacks the screening that Interpol’s rules require before a Red Notice is issued. Most commonly, Red Notices and Diffusions are enforced at points of entry, although in principle they may b
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