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Fugitive investigations

Fugitives pose a serious threat to public safety worldwide. They are mobile (often travelling between countries on stolen or fraudulent travel documents), and opportunistic, frequently financing their continued flight from the law through further criminal activities.

Fugitives also undermine the world’s criminal justice systems. They may have been charged with a violation of the law but not been arrested. They may have been released on bail and then fled to avoid prosecution or perhaps they have escaped from prison. When fugitives flee, cases are not adjudicated, convicted criminals fail to meet their obligations, and crime victims are denied justice.

INTERPOL's role

INTERPOL provides proactive and systematic assistance to member countries and other international entities in order to locate and arrest fugitives who cross international boundaries. Activities include:

  • Providing investigative support to member countries in international fugitive investigations;
  • Developing and implementing focused initiatives such as Operation Infra;
  • Coordinating international cooperation in the field of fugitive investigations;
  • Delivering training and conferences;
  • Collating and disseminating best practice and expert knowledge;
  • Providing operational support and assistance to the searches for individuals wanted for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes by INTERPOL member countries, UN tribunals and the International Criminal Court.
Projects

Project EL PAcCTO

EL PAcCTO (“Europa-Latinoamérica Programa de asistencia contra el crimen transnacional organizado: por el Estado de Derecho y la Seguridad ciudadana”) is an EU-funded 3-year project which aims to create and develop a permanent mechanism for fugitive investigations across Latin America.

Its partnership with INTERPOL involves the following objectives:

  • create and develop a standing, dedicated region-wide fugitive investigations network to identify, prioritize and target high-risk criminals with the support of INTERPOL Red and Blue Notices, and Diffusions.
  • develop a mechanism to standardize, analyze and exchange data associated with high-risk criminals.
  • provide capacity building and training on fugitive investigations.
  • expand the use of INTERPOL global tools and services to improve international police cooperation.

Participating INTERPOL member countries: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Peru.

Rwandan Genocide Fugitives Project

The Rwandan Genocide Fugitives Project was set up in 2004 with the Rwandan National Prosecution Service and the ICTR to target the outstanding fugitives wanted by these two bodies. Since then, more than 40 fugitives who were the subjects of INTERPOL Red Notices have been arrested.

INTERPOL supports initiatives to track down and arrest the nine remaining fugitives still wanted by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (UN-ICTR) who represents a top priority for the United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (UN-MICT).

Project Basic

Project Basic (Broadening Analysis on Serious International Crimes) targets fugitives wanted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Within this framework, INTERPOL cooperates with national authorities and international institutions to locate, arrest and develop information concerning individuals suspected of these crimes. 

In 2013, more than 50 individuals wanted for war crimes by various countries were arrested or located in different parts of the world. 

Red Notices for wanted persons

One of our most powerful tools in tracking international fugitives is the Red Notice. This seeks the provisional arrest of a wanted person with a view to extradition and is circulated to police in all our member countries. Red notices contain identification details and judicial information about the wanted person.

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