Producers Haut et Court TV and Canal+ beat off competition from three other contenders, including BBC One's Accused, at a ceremony held in New York last night (November 25).
During its UK broadcast on Channel 4, The Returned attracted an average of 1.8 million UK viewers each week, with a 7.1% audience share during its 9pm Sunday slot.
The series was well-received in its home nation and achieved equal success in Sweden and Belgium. It recently premiered in the US on the Sundance Channel.
The Returned beat other international series including Accused - which won in 2011 - as well as Maalaala Mo Kaya from The Philippines and Brazilian series Next in Line.
However, actor Sean Bean picked the award for 'Best Performance by an Actor' for his role in Accused.
"I've never actually won anything," Bean said. "Thank you. I really am so happy."
Other British successes include Sky comedy series Moone Boy, which lead actor Chris O'Dowd and co-writer Nick Vincent Murphy were on hand to collect.
"Even in the wildest imaginations of our imaginary friends we never imagined we'd win an International Emmy," the duo said. "Such an honour."
The 2012 feature-length documentary Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender also won the award for 'Arts Programming'.
Elsewhere, Zachary Quinto presented the International Emmy Founders Award to film and television writer and director JJ Abrams.