Within the Procurator General’s Office organisational structure, an advisory council with respect to the instructions issued by the Minister of Justice (“Weisungsrat“; §§ 29b f StAG) has been established under the chairmanship of the Procurator General (in the case of the latter’s absence, under the first deputy within the hierarchy).
It is the duty of the Weisungsrat to advise the Federal Minister of Justice in the following cases:
1. In cases involving an instruction on how to proceed in a specific case.
2. In criminal cases against the highest-levels of the executive branch (art. 19 of the Austrian Federal Constitution Act (B-VG): the Federal President, Federal Ministers, Secretaries of State and members of provincial governments), members of the Constitutional Court, the Administrative Court, the Supreme Court and the Procurator General.
3. In cases where the Federal Minister of Justice considers it a necessity due to the extraordinary interest of the public in a criminal case, in particular in cases of repeated and superregional media reporting or repeated public criticism of the course of action taken by the Public Prosecutor’s Office or the criminal investigation police or for reasons of partiality.
In cases like these, the Federal Minister of Justice submits to the Weisungsrat the Public Prosecutor’s report on its intended course of action pursuant to sec. 8 para. 1 StAG, the opinion of the Senior Public Prosecutor’s Office and a draft of its proposal on how to proceed including the reasons.
The Procurator General will convene a session of the Weisungsrat without delay, which includes in addition to the Procurator General as the Chairperson, two more members with specific know-how and long-term experience in the field of criminal law and criminal procedure law. Any sessions and votes of the Weisungsrat take place in closed chambers. Its members are bound to confidentiality, act independently in exercising their office and are not bound by any instructions.
The Weisungsrat submits a written opinion on the proposal by the Federal Minister of Justice.
In case the Federal Minister of Justice eventually does not uphold the opinion of the Weisungsrat, they are required to publish this opinion together with the reasons for not upholding it in the report to be submitted to the National Council and Federal Council.
In cases where the Weisungsrat is involved and instructions to terminate preliminary criminal proceedings are subsequently issued, the Public Prosecutor’s Office must inform the Legal Protection Commissioner, who has the right to submit an application to continue with the preliminary criminal proceedings.
Members of the Weisungsrat
Dr. Franz Plöchl, Procurator General
Deputies to the Chairman
Dr. Christine Sperker, First Advocate General
Prof. Dr. Gabriele Aicher, First Advocate General
Mag. Ulrich Knibbe, First Advocate General
Mag. Alexander Bauer, First Advocate General
Dr. Walter Presslauer, former Procurator General
Univ.-Prof. Hon.-Prof (UQ) Dr. Susanne Reindl-Krauskopf
em. O.Univ.-Prof. Dr. Helmut Fuchs
Dr. Walter Pilgermair, former President of the Higher Regional Court, Innsbruck.