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PACE creates independent external investigation body to look into allegations of corruption

The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) today ratified the terms of reference of an independent external investigation body to carry out a detailed independent inquiry into the allegations of “corruption and fostering of interests” made against certain PACE members or former members.

It shall 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.

The body shall also identify any practices contrary to the Assembly’s ethical standards, and determine the extent thereof. It is due to 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.

Finally, it shall draw up recommendations on the measures to be implemented to rectify the shortcomings and fill the gaps in the Assembly’s ethical framework.

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. The members are appointed by the Bureau of the Assembly. These appointments are submitted to the Assembly for ratification. Once appointed, members cannot be dismissed.

The investigation body has no jurisdictional competence. It will carry out its mission in the greatest confidentiality until its completion.

The independent external investigation body shall begin its duties with effect from the appointment of its members and its duties shall terminate on the submission of its final report to the Bureau, 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.