Among other things, the Salduz law regulates 'hearing' during criminal proceedings. This hearing concerns the search, investigation or follow-up (in criminal proceedings) following a breach of the regulations. The rights a person enjoys in the event of a hearing depend on their status in the context of this hearing: for the person who is suspected or arrested, other rules than for the person who is 'simply' interviewed apply. But beware: all information obtained by the police, the inspectorate or the prosecution does not fall under the notion of 'hearing'.
1. Ground rules at the start of each hearing
When interviewing people, regardless of the quality at which they are questioned (suspects, victims, witnesses and declarants), the people in charge of the interview must at least respect the rules below.
Each audition begins as follows:
• brief communication of the facts about which the person will be interviewed
• the communication given to the interviewee that:
he/she can ask that all the questions put to him/her and the answers he/she gives, be recorded in the terms used
he/she can request that an act of information be carried out (e.g. identity check, searches, etc.) or a specific hearing
his/her statements can be used as evidence in court
he/she cannot be forced to accuse himself/herself
All these elements are recorded with precision in the minutes of the hearing. Anyone questioned may use the documents in their possession, without this being able to result in the examination being postponed. It may, during the examination or subsequently, require that these documents be attached to the minutes of the hearing or filed with the registry. The minutes must also mention the hours of the hearing and the intervention of the persons during the hearing, the particular circumstances and anything that may shed light on the declaration of a particular day.
The interviewee can finally reread and correct the report. For people speaking another language, an interpreter is used.
2. Additional rules for hearing a suspect who has not been deprived of liberty
A 'suspect' is a person to whom offenses can be attributed. In addition to the basic rules that apply at the start of any hearing, a brief statement of the facts is given before the start of any hearing and he/she is informed that he/she has the right not to accuse him/herself and that he/she has the choice, after having stated his/her identity, to make a statement, to answer the questions put to him/her or to remain silent.
In addition, before the start of the first hearing, the suspect also receives a written declaration of his/her rights.
If the suspect is interviewed on facts which may lead to an arrest (these are facts which can be punished with imprisonment of 1 year or more), with the exception of facts relating to trafficking, the suspect (only) has the right before the first hearing to a confidential consultation with a lawyer of his/her choice.
The suspect receives this right because he/she was in a precarious situation during the first hearing, since it is the first time that he/she has come into contact with the police and judicial authorities. During subsequent hearings, the police must not grant a consultation before each new hearing : it is up to the person concerned to make regular contact with his/her lawyer.
As breaches of the regulations on welfare with a consequent accident at work can be punished with a maximum imprisonment of three years, a suspect is therefore entitled, for such offenses, to a confidential consultation with his/her lawyer before the first hearing.
3. Additional rules in case of hearing a 'suspect' who has been deprived of his/her liberty
In addition to the rights mentioned in points 1 and 2, an arrested person has the right to medical assistance before the start of the first hearing and has the right to inform a trusted person.
At each hearing, he/she is entitled to assistance by a lawyer or to confidential consultation.