In its investigations, the Office seeks evidence for and against the suspect with a view to establishing the facts. Anyone under investigation is presumed innocent until proved guilty. Investigations are conducted objectively and impartially. In case of doubt, several internal avenues are open to the individual, namely communication with the Director-General, with the Supervisory Committee and/or with the Secretary-General of the European Commission. Other external remedies are available through the European Ombudsman, the Court of Justice of the European Union and the competent judicial authorities of the host state.
The following are some of the guarantees which apply during investigations by virtue of Article 9 of Regulation 883/2013:
- the right to avoid self-incrimination,
- the right to be assisted by a person of one’s own choice,
- the right to a minimum period of notice before being interviewed,
- the right to present any document at an interview or by other means and to have that document included in the investigations and taken into consideration when the facts are established,
- the right of suspects to comment on past statements made by them as witnesses if such statements could now be used against them,
- the right of persons under investigation to obtain access to records of their interviews so that they can approve the record or add observations,
- the right of persons under investigation to receive a copy of the records of their interviews,
- the right of persons under investigation to be informed of the misdemeanours of which they are suspected.
- the right to comment on facts relating to the person under investigation, and
- the right to use any of the official languages of the institutions of the Union.