Mother, May I? The Effect Of An INTERPOL Challenge On Extradition Proceedings

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In a continuation of a series of posts about the CCF's Annual Report for 2011, today's post focuses on a perhaps surprising, but apparently common, occurence in INTERPOL member country courts around the world.

In its Annual Report, the CCF noted that many domestic courts were confused about INTERPOL's role in extradition proceedings. The CCF reported:

When processing complaints from requesting parties arrested on the basis of red notices
published by INTERPOL, the Commission has been faced with the position of national judicial authorities that considered that they could not rule on an extradition request when the person concerned had sent a complaint to INTERPOL.
A likely source of confusion by the courts is the possibility, no doubt raised by the accused, that the Red Notice that prompted the extradition proceedings may be in the process of being removed or destroyed. If the Notice was no longer valid, then a court understandably would be concerned that the underlying charges may not be valid, either. However, such a concern arises from a misapprehension of INTERPOL's role. The CCF went on to clarify INTERPOL's role:
On several occasions, the Commission has had to explain to national authorities via the NCBs the limits of its role which consists of determining whether the information recorded in INTERPOL’s files has been processed in compliance with INTERPOL’s rules, and that it has no power over proceedings taken against a person at the national level.
It cannot recommend that a national authority cancel an arrest warrant, halt proceedings, or cooperate or not with a requesting authority; only the national judicial or police authorities concerned may do so. It is up to national judges to determine, based on the criteria that are applicable to them, whether they consider that they can act upon a request for extradition. The study on compliance with INTERPOL’s rules conducted by the Commission is not meant to affect the process of a judicial procedure on the national level.

While INTERPOL's internal activity is not intended by INTERPOL to have any collateral effect on domestic cases, attorneys representing immigration, criminal, and INTERPOL clients can attest to the fact that courts are sometimes concerned with an individual's INTERPOL status. That status may have an effect, intended or not, on matters such as asylum claims and extradition evaluations.

As always, thoughts and comments are welcomed.