How was the political interference in your job

The Ibiza prosecutor's alarm call

Actually, today I wanted to write you an exciting report about the Ibiza Committee of Inquiry. Because yesterday Christina Jilek took the witness stand, the prosecutor of the economic and corruption prosecutor who led the Ibiza case, the most important case in the republic.

As is well known, it is about bribery and buying the law - and it is about the role of the ÖVP. I wrote down the background here. Jilek quit her job because she felt bullied.

This text is part of FALTER.morgen (edition from 02/11/2021), the new early newsletter from the FALTER editorial team. Register here at falter.at/morgen in order not to miss any issue.

In the committee of inquiry, the 40-year-old lawyer made such an impressive and, in my opinion, contemporary opening statement that I would like to forego my report and simply want to document her statement here in full.

If interim justice minister Werner Kogler does not react, the Greens can simply hand over the justice ministry to the ÖVP.

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Here is the statement from Christina Jilek:

Ladies and gentlemen, I was a public prosecutor with heart and soul for over 13 years. At the end of 2020 I said goodbye to the WKStA and the criminal justice system with a heavy heart. That was anything but easy for me. But for me there was no alternative.

My aim was to conduct the Ibiza process quickly, with an open mind and free from political interference. I have come to the conclusion that this is not possible under the current systemic and personal framework. The complete and independent clarification of the facts within a reasonable duration of the proceedings is not possible. There are too many glitches.

"You have to ask yourself the question of conscience"

I have exhausted all legally permissible options available in my position in order to create the necessary framework conditions. At some point I had to realize that the people in key positions lack the will to make the necessary change. And then you have to ask yourself the question of conscience, I did that for myself. (...) I am not ready to go through a fig leaf trial.

The drop that broke the barrel was a legal measure taken by the Head of the Vienna Public Prosecutor, Johann Fuchs, on September 11, 2020, which the Ministry of Justice initially supported. A so-called "exhibition". An exhibition is included in the personnel file, as a minus point, so to speak.

"Why the discipline?"

And why the discipline? Because with thousands of file pages and around 30 files and diaries in the Ibiza complex, a single email is supposed to be in the supposedly wrong diary. And do you know which mail? The information that you - the parliamentary U-Committee - are not to be presented with the shredder file on instructions from the Vienna Public Prosecutor's Office!

The content of the allegation was completely unfounded. But for you to understand how extraordinary an exhibition like this is, you have to know that I've never seen anything like it in 13 years. I've also spoken to a lot of colleagues. Nobody knows anything like that. Besides, there are no legal remedies against it either.

Instead of being able to concentrate fully on my work, I went to a lawyer and defended myself against it at my own expense. Fuchs had to withdraw the measure by order of the ministry. This was not a one-off incident, but just the sad climax of a whole series of incidents where I or my colleagues were wrongly accused of official law. In any case, this attempt at discipline made one thing very clear to me. Nothing will change. (...)

"... completely lost trust in my superiors"

As I said, that was the last drop. But the barrel was overflowing anyway. How did it fill up?

On the one hand through several very unusual processes in connection with instructions, reporting orders or the connection with the police. And by circumstances that have led to the fact that I have completely and irretrievably lost trust in my superior, Chief Public Prosecutor Fuchs, and through which I had to gain the impression that Fuchs is biased in exercising official and technical supervision. (...)

I've tried everything internally to find a solution. Unfortunately without success. It is important to me to note that it is not about individuals or personal sensitivities, but about the current public prosecutor's system in which these things are possible.

My deepest conviction based on my experience as a senior public prosecutor - and also as a citizen - is that an effective, powerful and rapid fight against corruption is not possible due to the system as long as the judicial anti-corruption authority WKStA is under political supervision. As long as the investigating police are under political supervision. (...)

"Free the WKStA from its political corset!"

I believe that there is an urgent need for action. And that brings me to my appeal, which, as a citizen, I would like to address to you as the legislator: it's up to you. Please create the framework conditions so that the WKStA can fully fulfill its role and can provide full clarification in this procedure and in all other procedures. Liberate the WKStA from its political corset! Place the WKStA under the most transparent, independent and most critical control we have: exclusive control by independent courts.

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Chief Public Prosecutor Johann Fuchs has rejected all of these allegations. The Green Justice Minister Alma Zadic was informed in May 2020 and asked for help. Christina Jilek is now a judge in Graz. The system she criticized won the first round.