Appendix – Terms of reference of the independent
external investigation body
Title and length of the term of office
1. The Assembly decides to set
up an independent external investigation body to look into allegations
of corruption within the Assembly.
2. It shall begin its duties with effect from the appointment
of its members and its duties shall terminate on the submission
of its final report, or at the latest on 31 December 2017. The Bureau
of the Assembly may extend the investigation body’s terms of reference,
if need be.
The purpose of the investigation
body is to carry out a detailed independent inquiry into the allegations of
corruption and fostering of interests made against certain members
or former members of the Assembly, to examine the practical functioning
of the Assembly in its various activities (including but not restricted
to part-sessions, committee and sub-committee meetings, rapporteur
missions, election observation missions and participation in various
events) and its decision-making mechanisms in order to:
- verify whether there are any
forms of individual conduct by members of the Assembly or former
members of the Assembly which have not respected the provisions
of the Code of Conduct for members of the Parliamentary Assembly
and other relevant codes of conduct;
- identify any practices contrary to the Assembly’s ethical
standards, and determine the extent thereof;
- establish, in the light of these findings, whether there
is sufficient proof to take action against members or former members
of the Assembly, pursuant to paragraphs 19 and 20 of the Code of
Conduct for members of the Parliamentary Assembly;
- draw up recommendations on the measures to be implemented
to rectify the shortcomings and fill the gaps in the Assembly’s
4. The investigation body shall
comprise three members, independent senior figures, from institutions enjoying
the highest moral reputation, having proven and acknowledged professional
competence, expertise and experience in connection with the mission
of the investigation body (such as ethics officer, financial auditor, fraud
examiner, legal professional having served as an investigator, prosecutor,
judge or expert in procedures for monitoring ethical standards).
5. Members must have knowledge of parliamentary functioning and,
if possible, of the functioning of the Council of Europe.
6. Members are appointed by the Bureau of the Assembly, which
shall seek a suitable balance of skills and knowledge – and wherever
possible a gender balance. These appointments are submitted to the
Assembly for ratification. Once appointed, members cannot be dismissed.
7. A vacancy caused by resignation or death shall be filled for
the remainder of the term of office by the Bureau of the Assembly,
subject to ratification of the appointment by the Assembly.
Procedure and competence
8. The investigation body shall
decide on its mode of operation, its working methods and the procedures required
to enable it to fulfil its mission, in keeping with the legal and
regulatory framework of the Council of Europe. It informs the Bureau
accordingly and seeks its advice if needed. The Bureau may decide
if necessary to create an ad hoc liaison committee to facilitate
The investigation body shall gather and make use of all relevant
information and all documentary, testimonial and material evidence
necessary for the fulfilment of its mission. It may, in particular:
- summon anyone, in particular
any member or former member of the Assembly, while respecting their parliamentary
any member of the Assembly secretariat, to give evidence,
- hear any witness wishing to be heard by the investigation
- request the assistance of any national authority of a
- request the provision of any document it deems relevant
for its investigation.
10. The investigation body shall have no jurisdictional competence.
It may decide to transmit the information it has gathered to any
national judicial authorities, on official request, in the context
of ongoing criminal investigations or proceedings, in keeping with
the legal and regulatory framework of the Council of Europe.
11. The work of the investigation body shall enjoy the utmost
12. The investigation body shall report back to the Bureau of
the Assembly, presenting a final report. This report shall be made
public. The investigation body may decide that parts of this report
shall remain confidential.
13. The working languages of the investigation body shall be the
two official languages of the Organisation.
14. The investigation body shall sit in Strasbourg (at the seat
of the Council of Europe) and may, in the exercise of its mission,
travel to any member state.
15. In drafting its recommendations, the investigation body shall
refer to the ethical standards in force in the Assembly and shall
take account of the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights
and the work of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO),
MONEYVAL and the Venice Commission.
Status of the investigation body
16. The members of the investigation
body shall serve in an individual capacity, independently of their national
In the exercise of their duties, the members of the investigation
body shall enjoy the privileges and immunities granted to experts
of the Council of Europe (applicable under Article 2 of the Protocol
to the General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities (ETS No.10)).NoteNoteNoteNoteNoteNoteNoteNoteNote
of Europe member states are called upon to facilitate the mission
of the investigation body and, in particular, guarantee the freedom
of movement of its members within their respective territory.
18. Privileges and immunities are granted to the members of the
investigation body in the interests of the Council of Europe, not
for their personal benefit, in order to enable them to carry out
their duties in an independent and efficient manner.
Rights and obligations
19. The members and honorary members
of the Assembly shall undertake to co-operate fully with the investigation
body, in the exercise of its mission and at every stage of its investigation.
They shall be required to provide any information demanded of them
and any document in their possession. Due account shall be taken
of relevant national legislations providing parliamentarians with
specific rights and protection in this regard.
Staff of the Council of Europe Secretariat, including the
Assembly secretariat, shall be covered, from the point of view of
whistle-blowing, by the provisions of Rule No. 1327 of the Secretary
General of the Council of Europe of 10 January 2011 on awareness
and prevention of fraud and corruption.NoteNote
21. The protection recognised by the above mentioned Rule No.
1327 shall apply to any witness heard by the investigation body
who, although they are not Council of Europe Secretariat members,
participate in the Council of Europe’s activities, wherever they
may be held – in particular trainees, experts, consultants.
22. The rules governing the access to, holding of and exploitation
of Council of Europe documents apply to the investigation body.
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe is called upon to
facilitate the mission of the investigation body by putting at its
disposal the documents, of any kind, which the investigation body believes
are necessary. The investigation body shall make use of confidential
or restricted documents only if they are directly related to the
investigation it is tasked with.
23. In its final report the investigation body shall mention any
refusal to co-operate, or any refusal to disclose information or
to give access to or transmit any document necessary to carry out
Means and material conditions of operation of the independent
24. The Secretary General of the
Parliamentary Assembly shall ensure that the investigation body
is provided with the administrative and financial resources required
to fulfil its mission and covering all operating costs of the investigation
body and its secretariat (wages, fees, per diem, travel expenses
in accordance with the rules applicable to Council of Europe official
25. The investigation body shall be assisted by a secretariat
with knowledge and expertise in the functioning of the Council of
Europe, that is however independent of the Parliamentary Assembly.
26. The premises made available to the investigation body shall
ensure a working environment guaranteeing confidentiality, security