Rules of Procedure for Parliamentary Investigating Committees
§ 31. Written Testimony
Informants may at any time be invited to testify in writing.P32
§ 32. Execution of Summonses
(1) Summonses shall be executed by the Chairperson without delay.
(2) When an informant is summoned for the first time, evidence of service may be dispensed with. Any further summons shall be served on the addressee personally.P33
§ 33. Rights and Duties of Informants
(1) Informants shall comply with the summons and give truthful testimony when heard. This shall be without prejudice to the grounds for refusal to testify as specified in §§ 43 and 44. Informants shall in particular have the right
1. to consult with the Procedural Advocate under § 11 (4) prior to and in the course of their hearing,
2. to have themselves accompanied when being heard before the Investigating Committee by a person in their confidence under § 46, and should the latter be excluded under § 46 (4), to continue the hearing at a later time,
3. to make an introductory statement under § 39 (1),
4. to submit evidence and written statements under § 39 (3) and move their publication or classification,
5. to contest the admissibility of questions under § 41 (4),
6. to have files and documents presented to them under § 42,
7. to move the exclusion of the public under § 17,
8. to be provided under § 19 (3) with the transcript of the recording of their hearing, to raise objections against mistakes in the record and against the extent to which the hearing is to be published, and to propose a limited number of minor corrections,
9. to be notified under § 51 (3) of the Committee’s draft report, reports submitted by a political group represented in the Committee, and personal dissenting opinions and to take position thereon, and
10. to demand reimbursement of expenses under § 59.
(2) The mere fact of being heard as an informant does not give rise to a position in public life in terms of § 7a Media Act nor to a connection with public life in terms of §§ 6, 7, 7a and 29 Media Act.P34
§ 34. Persons Not to Be Subjected to a Hearing
The following persons must not be subjected to a hearing:
1. Persons who by reason of psychiatric disorder, intellectual disability or other reason are unable to give truthful testimony;
2. Members of the clergy in regard to what has been confided to them in the course of confession or under the seal of official secrecy in their capacity as clergymen.P35
§ 35. Duty of Civil Servants to Testify, and Information of their Administrative Authority
Civil servants heard as informants cannot plead being bound to secrecy. If a civil servant’s administrative authority which is informed of the summons under § 30 (3) considers it necessary that the hearing of the civil servant should be held, in total or in part, in a confidential or secret sitting under § 37a RPA, it shall so inform the Investigating Committee.P36
§ 36. Consequences of Informants’ Failure to Appear
(1) If an informant without due cause fails to comply with a summons served on him/her personally under § 32 (2), the Investigating Committee may petition the Federal Administrative Court to impose a penalty for contempt under § 55. Such petition shall indicate the reason.
(2) The Investigating Committee may at the same time issue a second summons, warning the informant that it could, in case of repeated non-compliance, issue a warrant to have him/her brought before the Committee. Should the informant fail to comply with such summons without due cause, the Investigating Committee may order him/her to be brought before the Committee by the competent law-enforcement agency.
(3) Decisions under (1) and (2) above shall be executed by the Chairperson.
(4) Compulsory attendance under (2) above shall be subject to appeal to the Federal Administrative Court.P37
§ 37. Hearing of Informants
(1) Informants shall be heard individually in the absence of informants to be heard later.
(2) In a committee sitting the Chairperson may, after consultation with the Procedural Judge and, as far as possible, in coordination with the political groups represented in the Committee, change the order in which informants are to be heard as determined under § 30 (2).
(3) Informants giving contradictory evidence may be confronted with one another. All members of the Committee shall have the right to demonstrate contradictions in the respective testimonies and to ask additional questions for clarification of said contradictions.
(4) The hearing of an informant should not exceed a duration of three hours. The Chairman shall close the hearing after a duration of four hours at the latest, not including the initial questioning, an introductory statement under § 39 as well as any suspensions of the sitting.P38
§ 38. Instruction of Informants
The Procedural Judge shall first verify the informants’ personal data. Prior to the informants being heard the Procedural Judge shall instruct them about the grounds for refusal to testify and for excluding the pubic as well as about their duty to tell the truth and the penal consequences of false testimony. This instruction shall be noted in the Official Records.P39
§ 39. Introductory Statement and Initial Questioning
(1) The Procedural Judge shall give the informant an opportunity to make an introductory statement, which should not exceed a duration of 20 minutes.
(2) The Procedural Judge shall subsequently, on behalf of the Chairperson, conduct the initial questioning of the informant on the subject on which s/he is to be heard, which should not exceed 15 minutes.
(3) Informants may present evidence and written statements which the Committee shall keep in its records. The informant may move to have them published or classified, on which motion the Investigating Committee shall decide.P40
§ 40. Recognition of Members Asking for the Floor to Question Informants
(1) The Chairperson shall keep the list of speakers and, following the initial questioning, give the floor to the Committee members who have asked for recognition.
(2) For important reasons, and in particular in the interest of saving time, eliciting the truth or clearing up contradictions, the Chairperson may, if proposed by the Procedural Judge, moved by a member or, if no objection is raised, of his/her own accord, recognise members out of turn or withdraw a member’s right to speak.
(3) If there are no further requests for the floor, the Procedural Judge may address supplementary questions to the informant.