Committee of inquiry

the committee of inquiry is a parliamentary committee for the investigation of circumstances, whose clearing-up lies in the public interest.

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investigation procedure have to fulfill an important task in the parliamentary democracy. By it parliaments receive the possibility of examining independently and independently circumstances which consider them clearing-up needy in fulfilment of their order for condition as agency of the people, in particular into the area of responsibility of the government falling procedures, which refer to bad states. The committee of inquiry is a committee with special rights and special procedures. It can require the collecting main of documents and hear witnesses. Differently than in other committees the majority principle applies only reduced. The minority has the right to participate in the same way like the majority of the commitee in the investigation to place in particular proof requests. Therefore the committee of inquiry is considered as sharp sword of the opposition.

and must

the Bundestag upon the request of a quarter of its members a committee of inquiry can use installation and order for investigation according to the article 44 of the Basic Law. With this installation resolution the Bundestag determines the exact investigation article and the number of the committee members, who are designated afterwards by the parliamentary groups according to their strength. If the committee of inquiry is requested by at least one quarter of the members of the federal daily (qualified minority), then the Bundestag has to use this committee immediately. In this case the Bundestag may not change or extend the investigation article against the will of the applicants.

The borders of the parliamentary right of search essentially result from the constitutional scope of responsibility of the federal daily:

  • The right of search of the federal daily is limited to the jurisdiction of the federation. The parliaments of the countries as well as the European parliament can use own in each case committees of inquiry in the context of their competence (the regulations to find itself in the national conditions and/or. in kind. 193 EEC contract).
  • The right of search of the federal daily is limited by the principle of the division of power (kind. 20 exp. 2 GG). With the government and administrative control there is a core range of executive sole responsibility, which from the parliament question intensivelyable Initiativ, consulting and action range with do not include one. Therefore the parliamentary right of search extends usually only to already final procedures.


the procedure of the committees of inquiry in the Bundestag is particularly regulated by the committee of inquiry law (PUAG). Besides the regulations of the code of criminal procedure apply. The committee of inquiry raises the proofs ordered by the order for investigation due to proof resolutions. Proofs are to be raised, if they are requested by a quarter of the committee members, it are, the proof collection are inadmissible or the evidence are unattainable also after use of means of coercion. As evidence come in particular the hearing of witnesses and experts as well as the Beiziehung of documents into consideration. The committee of inquiry has the right to force the appearance from witnesses to to determine in case of an unjustified refusal to give evidence an order money and/or. to let take the person in detention. As before a court wrong statements are threatened with punishment before the committee of inquiry. With disputes as far as possible the Federal High Court decides (before the entry into force of the PUAG because of the competence after the StPO the district court in Bonn and/or. in Berlin). If organ disputes are led or if the installation of the committee appears unconstitutional, then the Federal Constitutional Court is responsible.


the result of the investigations is summarized in a final report. The committee of inquiry does not come to a concerted report, e.g. because the evaluation between the government and opposition parliamentary groups is disputed, the minority can represent their view in a special vote, which is to be taken up to the report. The results of the committee of inquiry do not have sanctioning effect. The courts are not bound and in the appreciation for the investigation procedure at the basis lying circumstances free to the determination results.

Actually the committee of inquiry showed itself to the opposition rarely as “sharp sword ” or for the clearing-up of circumstances. Nevertheless its meaning may not be evaluated small. Already the threat with the installation of a committee of inquiry has disciplining effect on the executive. Without the threat with a committee, that can require the collecting main of government documents and hear Ministry coworkers as witnesses, the parliamentary right to pose questions would be clearly cancelled as the most important means of control of the government. The discussion over the installation of a committee of inquiry to the activities Federal Intelligence Service in the Iraq, the CIA flights and the hearing of possible torture victims by federal officials caused the Federal Government at the beginning of the yearly 2006 to an unparalleled open reporting opposite the Bundestag and its committees.

On regional level homogeneous mechanisms insist.


the proof collection takes place in principle in public negotiation. Thus are the so-called. Hall public meant. Clay/tone and photographs as well as clay/tone and picture transmissions are as a rule illegal. However the committee of inquiry can permit exceptions, if a majority of two thirds of the present members as well as or the persons who can be listened to who can be heard agreed. Of it has the 2. Committee of inquiry of the 15. Electoral period for the first time in the history German of Bundestag use made.

Transferred in the television are among other things the questionings of Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs at that time Joschka Fischer and Ministers of State A. D. Ludger Volmer as well as the hearing of the beamteten undersecretary of state at that time Gunter Pleuger (both 21. April 2005).

The parliamentary television puts free of charge the transmission to the television stations at the disposal. The documentation channel of pool of broadcasting corporations and Second Channel of German Television, Phoenix, transfers the meeting continuous live, the news stations n24 and n-tv occasionally.

The premiere was successful for the realigning and documentation channels. With Phoenix 230,000 spectators saw over 14 hours the lasting transmission, the documentation channel of pool of broadcasting corporations and Second Channel of German Television reached with 1,6 per cent market share (annual average 0.5 to 0.6 per cent) good ratios, also n-tv appeared also contently with 160.000 spectators and 3.0 market share (otherwise around 0,5 per cent) in the time of the Untersuchungsauschuss transmission, likewise to N24 on average.

examples on federal level


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Wiktionary: Committee of inquiry - word origin, synonyms and translations

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