Adoption of the Agenda of the Inquiry Committee at yesterday’s session was delayed, because of, among other things, the need for additional legal interpretation of possibility to call citizens to make a statement. IA believes that the loosely defined provisions of the Law on Parliamentary Inquiry should be interpreted in the spirit of the Law itself. The aim and purpose of this Law was to allow the Inquiry Committee to “thoroughly examine the issue due to which it was established”. Bearing that in mind, it is not against the spirit of the Law to call individuals who have relevant information for the work and achievement of the task of the Inquiry Committee.
Article 13 of the Law prescribes the type of persons who are especially obliged to respond to the call in order to make a statement. It doesn’t oblige all the citizens, because of the obvious reason – people can not bear the political responsibility for decisions taken by the Government on behalf of the country. However, they can help clearing up the matter in question and provide genuinely useful information. Therefore, the possibility for citizens to be called without legal bound to answer, should not be ruled out. Finally, the Law on Parliamentary Inquiry does not forbid possibility nor there is a collision with provisions of any other law.
Since this question is legally unexecuted, the decision of the Inquiry Committee will depend on the willingness of the Committees’ members to obtain the necessary information. Thus, we expect all members of the Inquiry Committee not to block the relevant data gathering and support a long list of people who will make a statement before the Inquiry Committees – without compromising the deadline set by the Decision on the establishment of the Inquiry Committee and the efficiency of the Committee.
All persons should be invited to express their respect for Parliament and respond to the call. During the adoption of the Law on Parliamentary inquiry, IA has continually pointed to the necessity of penalty provisions which would be joined to the Inquiry Committees’ responsibilities – above all, by establishing appropriate penalties for failure of delivering information to the Inquiry Committee, failure to respond to the call of the Inquiry Committee to make a statement before the Committee, as well as false testifying. Yet, we hope that this will not lock up the Inquiry Committee and that all those invited to make a statement will respond and give complete and true statements.
Public Policy Researcher