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01.01.17

No Separation of Powers or Justice at the EPO: Reign of Terror by Battistelli Explained in Letter to the Administrative Council

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An “investigation in this manner is contrary to the principles of due process as established in ILOAT,” argues the Staff Committee

Reign of Terror by Battistelli

Summary: In violation of international labour laws, Team Battistelli marches on and engages in a union-busting race against the clock, relying on immunity to keep this gravy train rolling before an inevitable crash

THE EPO‘s management is now being called "reign of terror" by Dutch politicians. One of them also called the Investigative Unit [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], which we covered here before, the “gestapo”. No mincing of words is necessary when a horrible Battistelli-led regime goes as far as it has.

Someone among the many recipients of Staff Committee publications recently put this document on our lap [PDF]. It obviously merits attention, even if belatedly; Battistelli and his henchwoman Bergot (Principal Director 4.3) already received a copy, so this wasn’t done behind their backs. We wish to highlight one bit from this 20-page (including cover letter) review of the investigation and disciplinary procedures:

- The hearing of the accused person typically takes place towards the end of the investigation, often after a significant number of witnesses have been heard and hundreds of pages of material have been accumulated. Finding the accused person innocent at this stage would mean these efforts have been wasted. In other words, the procedure is conducted in a manner which encourages the investigative unit to find the “subject” guilty.

- The interview with the “subject” is not conducted as a neutral and impartial “fact-finding” exercise in which the presumption of innocence is respected contrary to Art. 6 Circ 342. In practice, a presumption of guilt appears to prevail and the interview is typically conducted in the manner of an aggressive interrogation with the aim of coming to a confession. It seems that the investigators are trained in and employ the “Reid technique”, (see Wikipedia: Reid interrogation technique).

- The accused person is typically informed in a vague and imprecise manner of the original allegations, contrary to Art. 15(1) Circ. 342. The identity of the accuser is not necessarily disclosed. This renders it difficult if not impossible to prepare for an “interview” and thus impairs the right to defence recognised in Art. 6(2) Circ 342. Conducting an investigation in this manner is contrary to the principles of due process as established in ILOAT jurisprudence (cf. Judgments Nos. 3200, …….).

- If the original allegations are weak, the interview seems to serve as a “fishing expedition” to find further material which can be used as a basis for raising fresh charges against the subject. It is not uncommon to find additional allegations being incrementally added to the charge sheet as the investigation progresses.

- Any refusal to comply with the instructions of the investigators, even in cases where these instructions lack an identifiable legal basis or are otherwise disproportionate, is considered to constitute “non-cooperation” which is subsequently deemed to merit additional disciplinary action.

The position paper also says that “it is apparent that existing institutional arrangements are insufficient to ensure the independence and impartiality of the investigative process and involve conflicts of interest which have the potential to prejudice the outcome and/or undermine the impartiality and integrity of any investigation.”

This point, incidentally, the ILO recently agreed on w.r.t. the Disciplinary Committee. This kind of bunk ‘justice’, often in violation of international rules/norms, makes Battistelli’s Eponia a pariah state in need of disciplining (the management).

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