In the Ibiza investigation committee, the then former corruption prosecutor Christine Jilek caused a sensation with her description of “disruptive fires” against the economic and corruption prosecutor’s office. According to this, the WKStA was downright harassed as a supervisory authority, especially by the head of the Vienna Public Prosecutor’s Office, Johann Fuchs, who has since withdrawn. Jilek complained about an excessive reporting obligation, because of which one was forced to write more than 100 partly “unnecessary” reports. What a lot of capacities that would have been needed for the investigation cost.
Justice Minister Alma Zadic (Greens) has now reacted. As their department confirmed on Monday, a senior public prosecutor in Innsbruck will in future supervise the proceedings conducted by the WKStA in the Ibiza complex without instructions and report directly to the ministry. The regulation therefore also applies to the investigations against former Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and nine other suspects in the VP advertisement affair.
The complete reorganization of the technical supervision should bring the installation of a federal prosecutor. According to “Kurier”, a first draft stipulates that the job requires training as a judge with practical experience. The Federal Public Prosecutor is to be appointed (for twelve years) by the Federal President at the suggestion of a committee of experts. The National Council is granted a right of control after the procedure has been completed.
At the end of an assessment that has been repeatedly criticized as being too short, the leniency program has been extended by a further seven years. The previous regulation, which can save those involved in the offense with a corresponding contribution to the investigation, expires at the turn of the year.
The President of the Graz Regional Court, Caroline List, made a critical comment on the draft. The fact that the crown witness status can in future be applied for not only with the public prosecutor but also with the criminal police increases “the risk of official indiscretion,” said List.
The President of the Higher Regional Court of Vienna, Katharina Lehmayer, is different: The extension to the criminal investigation department makes it easier for the key witnesses to establish contact. The WKStA welcomes the extension of the leniency program, which has come into effect exactly 15 times since 2016.