On December 1, 2005, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra signed a document establishing a committee of investigation into the affair of the Perinian brothers and rogue cop Tzahi Ben-Or.
At the same time, Livni announced that she was granting the committee the prerogatives of a judicial commission of inquiry, including the right to summon witnesses, take testimony, obtain documents and apply sanctions to anyone who refused to testify.
These prerogatives are included in the 1968 Commission of Inquiry Law.
According to Section 15 (a) of the law, "if the commission of inquiry determines that someone may be hurt by the investigation or its results, the chairman will inform that person of how he might be hurt and place at his disposal in a way the committee sees fit, the testimony related to the said injury that is in the possession of the committee or whoever was ordered by the committee to collect it."
In their decision on Tuesday, the members of the committee headed by judge (ret.) Vardi Zeiler wrote that "in order to enable the institutions and individuals [who received warning letters] to determine whether they want to present additional information to the committee, we have decided to bring the contents of our decision to your attention."
It is expected that those who received warning letters will hire lawyers to study the material and defend them before the committee. In the next round of hearings, which is also the last, those who have received letters of warning will be given the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses, including those whose testimony led to the warning letters against them. If the commission allows them to do so, they may also submit new evidence.
After the end of this round, the committee members will retire to write their final report and recommendations regarding the measures that should be taken against those found responsible of improper conduct. The recommendations can include dismissal from a position, disciplinary action or the launching of a criminal investigation.
The commission of inquiry submits its report and recommendations to the government. It does not have the authority to enforce the recommendations itself. However, in the past, these recommendations have generally been implemented because of the commissions's status and moral authority.
According to the letter of appointment, Livni and Ezra gave the commission until June 30 to complete its work.
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