Rules of Procedure for Parliamentary Investigating Committees
§ 11. Duties of the Procedural Advocate
(1) The Procedural Advocate shall attend the sittings of the Investigating Committee in an advisory capacity. Whenever the performance of his/her duties so requires, s/he shall immediately address himself/herself to the Chairperson, who shall suspend the hearing if necessary.
(2) The Procedural Advocate shall at any time immediately warn the Chairperson or the Procedural Judge of any violations of the Rules of Procedure or impairment of an informant's fundamental or personality rights.
(3) The Procedural Advocate shall immediately call attention to any grounds for excluding the public under § 17 (2) and for refusal to testify under §§ 43 and 44. S/he may object to publications of the Investigating Committee under § 20.
(4) Prior to and during the hearing of an informant in the Investigating Committee, the Procedural Advocate shall afford him/her the opportunity of a confidential consultation. For this purpose, s/he may also demand a suspension of the sitting.
(5) The Procedural Advocate is under obligation to observe secrecy on the matters entrusted to him/her and on any other facts of which s/he has obtained knowledge in this capacity and the secrecy of which is in an informant's interest. S/he may plead being bound to that secrecy in court and administrative proceedings, subject to the respective rules of procedure.
§ 12. Consultation about the Procedural Judge’s or Procedural Advocate’s Remonstrance
If the Chairperson fails to comply with the Procedural Judge’s or the Procedural Advocate’s remonstrance, every member of the Investigating Committee shall have the right to demand a consultation to be held in a sitting that is at least confidential under § 18 in order to clarify the matter. As soon as the hearing or deliberations are resumed, the Chairperson shall announce the decision s/he has taken after the consultation and shall state the reasons therefor.
§ 13. Appointment and Mandate of the Special Investigator
(1) Upon a motion tabled by one of its members, the Investigating Committee may appoint an independent Special Investigator, whom it shall entrust with certain tasks to prepare the taking of evidence.
(2) Upon a motion tabled by one of its members, the Investigating Committee may
1. set a deadline for submission of the Special Investigator’s report,
2. recall the Special Investigator.
(3) Decisions under (1) and (2) above shall require a majority of two thirds of the votes cast.
(4) The Special Investigator shall receive a remuneration under § 60 (1) for his/her services. S/he shall be provided under § 60 (2) with the means necessary to perform his/her duties.
§ 14. Rights and Duties of the Special Investigator
(1) The Special Investigator shall have the right to inspect the files and documents in possession of the committee that are necessary to fulfil his/her mandate. S/he may at any time present to the Investigating Committee a proposal for supplementary requests for evidence under § 25. S/he is authorised, within the scope of his/her mandate, to request written or oral information or perform visual inspections in terms of § 50.
(2) After completion of his/her investigations the Special Investigator shall present a comprehensive report to the Investigating Committee in writing or orally in a confidential sitting. The presentation of interim reports shall be admissible. The report may contain a proposal on how to proceed further. The Chairperson shall decide on the classification of the report. If any objections are raised against his/her decision, the Committee shall rule on them.
(3) The Special Investigator is under obligation to observe secrecy on the matters entrusted to him/her and on any other facts of which s/he has obtained knowledge in this capacity.
§ 15. Attendance of Committee Sittings by Other Persons
Regarding the attendance of other persons involved in the proceedings of the Investigating Committee, §§ 37 and 37a RPA shall apply with the proviso that the decision to admit such persons may be taken for the entire duration of the activity of the Investigating Committee.
§ 16. Sittings of the Investigating Committee
(1) Upon proposal by the Chairperson and after consultation with the Procedural Judge the Investigating Committee shall determine a schedule of work, taking into account the basic order to take evidence under § 24. If possible, at least four sittings of the Investigating Committee should take place per month.
(2) The Investigating Committee may convene even when the National Council is not in session.
§ 17. Sittings Open to the Media and Confidential Sittings
(1) When the Committee is hearing informants and experts, the President shall, subject to the availability of sufficient room, admit representatives of the media. Audio and video recordings shall be permitted exclusively for purposes of preparing the records under § 19 and of transmitting the proceedings within the Parliament buildings.
(2) The public shall be excluded if
1. overwhelming public interests or interests on the part of an informant or of third persons warranting protection so require,
2. the protection of industrial or business secrets so requires or
3. exclusion of the public appears to be necessary in the interest of truthful testimony.
(3) The Chairperson shall decide on the exclusion of the public of his/her own accord or upon a motion by the Procedural Judge, a committee member, an informant or the Procedural Advocate.
(4) Informants may be heard in a confidential or secret sitting. When the testimony of civil servants is heard, notifications received under § 35 shall be taken into account.
§ 18. Deliberations of the Investigating Committee
Unless the Investigating Committee decides otherwise, its deliberations shall be confidential.
§ 19. Records
(1) Official Records shall be kept of the sittings of the Investigating Committee. § 38 RPA shall be applied with the proviso that
1. any documents brought to the notice of members in the course of the sitting shall be handled in accordance with the provisions applicable to evidence, rather than be annexed to the Records,
2. any objections raised against the Official Records shall be ruled on by the Chairperson after consultation with the Procedural Judge.
(2) The hearing of evidence shall be recorded verbatim. Of other proceedings, summary records shall be taken unless the Committee decides otherwise.
(3) The transcript of the recording of the hearing shall demonstrably be communicated to the informant or expert informant. Said informant may, within three days of the transcript being communicated, raise objections against mistakes in the record and against the extent to which his/her hearing is to be published, and may propose a limited number of minor corrections. The Committee shall rule on any objections raised and corrections proposed. Corrections that have been approved shall be annexed to the records. Unless objections are received within one week of the transcript being forwarded, the records may be published under § 20 (1) . Should any objections be raised subsequently, the Investigating Committee shall rule on them.
§ 20. Publications
(1) Under the provisions of § 39 RPA as applied mutatis mutandis, the Investigating Committee may decide to publish
1. verbatim records of public hearings of informants and experts, after objections and corrections received in due course have been ruled on under § 19 (3),
2. supplementary requests for evidence and lists of informants summoned, with due consideration to be given to agreements under § 58,
3. experts’ opinions under § 47,
4. reports of Special Investigators under § 14 (2),
5. written testimony provided by informants and documents without prejudice to the provisions of § 39 (3).
The committee may determine the time of publication.
(2) Any further communications made by the Investigating Committee shall be based on § 39 RPA.
(3) The Procedural Judge and the Procedural Advocate may object to a decision under (1) above, on which objection the Investigating Committee shall rule without delay. Pending the Committee’s ruling on the objection, the respective material shall remain unpublished.
(4) In matters of publication, the Committee shall respect agreements under § 58 and ensure the safeguarding of interests of secrecy requiring protection under § 21 and, if personal data are used, interests of secrecy warranting protection that prevail over the public’s interest to be informed.