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European Commission of Human Rights - Rules of Procedure

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Chapter II: Hearings

Rule 37

1. Hearings before the Commission shall be held in camera. Unless the Commission decides otherwise, no person shall be admitted, other than

a. the persons referred to in Rule 31 or 32;

b. the individual applicant;

c. any person being heard by the Commission as a witness;

d. the persons referred to in Rule 17, paragraph 1.

2. If the applicant is a non-governmental organisation or group of individuals, the Commission shall ensure that those appearing are entitled to represent it.

3. When it considers it in the interest of the proper conduct of a hearing, the Commission may limit the number of the parties' representatives or advisers who may appear.

4. The parties shall inform the Commission at least ten days before the date of the opening of the hearing of the names and functions of the persons who will appear on their behalf at the hearing.

5. The provisions of the present Rule shall apply mutatis mutandis to hearings before delegates of the Commission.

Rule 38

1. Any individual applicant, expert or other person whom the Commission decides to hear as a witness, shall be summoned by the Secretary. The summons shall indicate:

a. the parties to the application;

b. the facts or issues regarding which the person concerned will be heard;

c. the arrangements made, in accordance with Rule 42, paragraph 1 or 2, to reimburse the persons concerned for any expenses incurred by them.

2. Any such persons may, if they have not sufficient knowledge of English or French, be authorised by the President to speak in any other language.

Rule 39

1. After establishing the identity of the witnesses or experts the President or the principal delegate mentioned in Rule 34, paragraph 2, shall request them to take the following oath:

a. for witnesses: "I swear that I will speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

b. for experts: "I swear that my statement will be in accordance with my sincere belief."

2. Instead of taking the oath in the terms set out in paragraph 1 of this Rule, the witnesses or experts may make the following declaration:

a. for witnesses: "I solemnly declare upon my honour and conscience that I will speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

b. for experts: "I solemnly declare upon my honour and conscience that my statement will be in accordance with my sincere belief."

Rule 40>

1. The President, or the principal delegate, shall conduct the hearing or examination of any persons heard. Any member may put questions to the parties or to the persons heard with the leave of the President or the principal delegate.

2. A party may, with the permission of the President or of the principal delegate, also put questions to any person heard.

Rule 41

1. The Secretary shall be responsible for the production of verbatim records of hearings before the Commission.

2. The parties or, where appropriate, their representatives shall receive a draft verbatim record of their submissions in order that they may propose corrections to the Secretary within a time-limit laid down by the President. After necessary corrections, if any, the text shall constitute certified matters of record.

Rule 42

1. The expenses incurred by any person who is heard by the Commission as a witness at the request of a party shall be borne either by that party or by the Council of Europe, as the Commission may decide. Where it is decided that the expenses shall be borne by the Council of Europe, the amount shall be fixed by the President of the Commission.

2. The expenses incurred by any such person whom the Commission hears proprio motu shall be fixed by the President and be borne by the Council of Europe.

3. Where the Commission decides to obtain written expert opinions, the costs, as agreed by the President, shall be borne by the Council of Europe.

4. Where the Commission decides to obtain written evidence, any costs incurred by the party who submits it shall be borne either by that party or by the Council of Europe, as the Commission may decide. Where it is decided that the costs shall be borne by the Council of Europe, the amount shall be agreed by the President of the Commission.

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