The Investigation Division is mandated to examine and investigate cases of suspected fraud, corruption, and/or other wrongdoing relating to the Council of Europe in accordance with its legal framework.
An investigative process is a fact-finding process aimed at establishing whether wrongdoing, as defined in the Organisation’s legal framework, has occurred. It consists of gathering, securing, and examination of evidence aiming to establish facts substantiating or refuting allegations, and may consist of several stages (including initial consideration, preliminary assessment, and investigation).
The process could consist of the following stages:
1. Initial consideration
Screening to determine whether allegations fall within the DIO’s mandate.
2. Preliminary assessment
The purpose of a preliminary assessment is to record and establish basic facts, including: how, when and by whom the allegation was reported; the nature of the allegation(s); the identity of the alleged wrongdoer, if known; the identity of any witnesses or other persons involved in the allegation(s); whether the alleged facts can be substantiated; and the internal rules or regulations which may have been breached.
It aims to assess, among other things, if the alleged facts can be substantiated, check what supporting documentation or other materials can be found, preserve and secure basic evidence, and determine whether, or not, an investigation is justified.
If based upon the results of the preliminary assessment, the Director of Internal Oversight finds that sufficient grounds exist, they may decide to open an investigation in order to establish relevant facts and, if needed, make recommendations in this connection. The investigation could consist inter alia in the collection and securing of physical, documentary, digital, or testimonial evidence, and the production of a confidential investigation report.
4. Follow up
- Reports produced in the context of an investigation are submitted to the Secretary General and may include recommendations for disciplinary, financial or administrative follow up, or transfer of information to national judicial or other authorities competent to further investigate the matter.
- The DIO shall also report to senior management on any risks, internal control weaknesses, or other deficiencies detected as a result of the investigation and issue recommendations to address them.
- The DIO may refer the matter to another body or entity of the Council of Europe for non-disciplinary follow-up (including financial recovery, as necessary).
- The DIO may also refer a matter to the Secretary General for further action if it is considered that interim measures should be taken or to the Director of the Human Ressources if protective measures are deemed necessary, at any stage of the proceedings.
- The Investigation Division follows up on implementation of the recommendations relating to the preliminary assessments and investigations.
- The Division may coordinate activities with other Council of Europe bodies and external stakeholders.
The Secretary General has the right to decide whether, or not, to open disciplinary proceedings and impose a disciplinary sanction, as well as on the follow up to be given to recommendations made by the DIO following a preliminary assessment or an investigation.