THE

IRISH JURIST

VOLUME XXXVIII
New Series 2003

 

 

THOMSON ROUND HALL
in association with

THE LAW FACULTY,
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN

THE ROLE OF THE PUBLIC PROSECUTOR IN
GERMANY

RAOUL MUHM (LMU)



The Kohl scandal, involving illegal financing of the CDU party, has revealed the hitherto unimaginable existence in Germany of a high degree of widespread impropriety and corruptibility in the political governmental apparatus1. Although German public opinion had become accustomed to the numerous political scandals of recent years, in no previous case could these be ascribed directly and incontrovertibly to the highest levels of the political-governmental apparatus. Furthermore, German public opinion was particularly shaken both by the way in which the illegal intentions were implemented, described as Mafia-like ("mafiotisch") in Germany, and by the arrogance with which some of the people involved tried to justify their actions, referring, among other things, to the pactum sceleris, a questionable "word of honour" ("Ehrenwort"), symbolising the crystallisation of a behaviour which, in the opinion of the aforesaid persons, could not be subjected to the precepts of the "common" democratic legal System2.As is well-known, in Germany, unlike in France or Italy, illegal financing of political parties does not in itself constitute a crime3. In spite of that, when additional aspects are also present, they may be configured as crimes of fraud ("Betrug"), malversation ("Untreue") and tax evasion "Steuerhinterziehung"). In fact it was though the investigations of the Public Prosecutor of Augsburg, in Bavaria,4 arising from the charges of

1. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), July l, 2000, pp.l, 12; Die Woche, June 30, 2000, pp.l, 6, 7 (Wie kriminell war das Kohl-Regime?); Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), June 29, 2000, p.l, June 26, 2000, pp.l, 2 (Kohl gerät wegen Akten-Vernichtung unter Druck), February 11, 2000, p.5, April 2, 2000, pp.l, 5, January 29, 2000, pp.l, 6, 55, January 28, 2000, p.9; Die Woche, January 14, 2000, p.l, January 7, 2000, p.5 et seq.
2. SZ, February 7, 2000, p. l, January 22,2000, p. 13, January 18, 2000, p. 12, January 15, 2000, p.15; Pflüger, Ehrenwort. Das System Kohl und der Neubeginn, (Goldmann Verlag, München, 2000).
3. Volkmann, Parteispenden als Verfassungsproblem, in Juristische Zeitung (JZ), 2000, p.539 et seq.; Manna, Corruzione e finanziamento illegale ai partiti, in Riv. it. dir.e proc. pen., 1999, p. 116 et seq. (153-154); Hofmann, Die Staatliche Teilfinanzierung der Parteien, in Neue Juristische Wochenschrift (NJW), 1994, p.691 et seq.; V. Arnim, Verfassungsfragen der Parteienfinanzierung, in Juristische Arbeitsblätter (JA), 1985, p. 121 et seq. and p.207 et seq.
4. Remarkable in this context is the fact that in France, Italy and Spain, judicial investigations involving members of the political-governmental apparatus are frequently launched by provincial Public Prosecutors, geographically far from the capital, the centre of political power.


tax evasion and fraud against Schreiber, Leisler Kiep and Max Strauß,5 that it became possible to work back to the highest political-governmental levels and remove the veil hiding the illegal funding of the CDU and whatever acts of corruption there were in the Leuner-Elf/Aquitaine case.6 The Kohl scandal has further illustrated the conspicuous role that Public Prosecutors must play in implementation of judicial control of the political-executive power, a control essential both for the effectiveness of a parliamentary democracy based on the principle of division of powers and for implementation of the concept of equality.7 Although one cannot claim that there are sensational conflicts between the political-executive and the judicial powers in Germany, it is not difficult to perceive marked divergences between the aforesaid powers, even though they may be subliminal or latent.8 It was certainly not a fortuitous accident if the president of the German Association of Judges (Deutsche Richtervereinigung), Mr Voss, warned about sensitive attempts by the political-executive power to influence individual decisions by magistrates.9 Still less to be undervalued is the Statement of abstention by a Bavarian judge who made public the very heavy pressure exerted on him by members of the Bavarian Government.10 With apprehension, one must take note of the fact that in the context of the inquiries regarding Schreiber, Leisler Kiep and Max Strauß, one of Augsburg Public Prosecutors feit it necessary to hide from the Bavarian Ministry of Justice its attempts at technical analysis in order to be able to read the hard disk of Max Strauß's Computer, since he must have feared arrogation of the investigation or other undue interference." Concern is also aroused by the fact that, when the Public Prosecutor (Staatsanwalt) informed the Bavarian Minister of Justice of the attempts to read the hard disk, the disk disappeared, creating marked unpleasantness at the parliamentary level where there was a call for the setting up of a parliamentary commission of inquiry to elucidate the modalities of its disappearance.12

5. SZ, March 2, 2000, p.L9.
6. SZ, June 29, 2000, p. l, June 26, 2000, pp. l, 2, March 10, 2000, p.2, February 23, 2000, p. I, February 22, 2000, p.8, February 11, 2000, p. 12; Die Woche, January l, 2000, p 26.
7. BVerfGE, 9, 223; Muhm Raoul, Der unabhängige Staatsanwalt. Das italienische Modell, in Rechtsphilosophische Hefte, Nr. 6, 1996, p.55 et seq.; Muhm Raoul, Dependencia do Ministerio Publico do Executive) na Alemanha, in Revista da Ministerio Publico, (Lisbona, Nr. 61, 1995) p. 121 et seq.; Muhm Raoul, Dependencia del Ministerio Fiscal del Ejecutivo en la Republica Federal Alemana, in Jueces para la democracia, Madrid, Nr. 2, 1994, p.93 et seq.
8. SZ, July 21,2000, pp. l, 4 (Der Aufstand der dritten Gewalt), 6, August 14, 1999, p.8; Lamprecht, Vom Mythos der Unabhängigkeit. Über das Dasein und Sosein der deutschen Richter, (Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, Baden-Baden, 1995).
9. SZ, October 5, 1999, p.6.
10. SZ, November 11, 1999, p.L13.
11. SZ, June 21, 2000, p.L13, April 13, 2000, p. l, March l, 2000, p.L8, February 26, 2000, p.L9.
12. SZ, April 13,2000, p.L8

THE ROLE OF THE PUBLIC PROSECUTOR

Now, considering that the Kohl case (viewed as a whole, obviously) makes still more manifest the institutional conflict between the political-executive power and Public Prosecutors' Offices,13 it seems opportune to examine the Status and role of the Public Prosecutor in Germany.14 In this context it is necessary to recall that the well-known absence of independence of the individual members of the Public Prosecutor's offices has for years been the subject of debate and of academic studies, noted with considerable apprehension by public opinion.15 Right from the time of publication of the article Von Italien lernen ("Learn from Italy") in the national daily "TAZ", which expressed the hope for the introduction into Germany of laws to ensure the independence of Public Prosecutors and development of

13. SZ, May 6, 2000, p.ll.
14. Roxin, Strafverfahrensrecht, (25th ed., C.H. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, München, 1998), p.49 et seq.; Koller, Die Staatsanwaltschaft—Organ der Judikative oder Exekutivbehörde, (Peter Lang Verlag, Frankfurt a. M, 1997); Pott, Die Außerkraftsetzung der Legalität durch das Opportunitätsdenken in den Vorschriften der ss. 154, 154a St PO, (Peter Lang Verlag, Frankfurt a. M, 1996); Muhm Raoul, Der unabhängige Staatsanwalt. Das italienische Modell, op. dt., pp.55 et seq.; Löwe-Rosenberg, Die Strafprozeßordnung und das Gerichtsverfassungsgesetz, (24th ed., Großkommentar, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin-New York, 1996), subs.146 GVG; Muhm Raoul, Dependencia do Ministerio Publico do Executive naAlemanha, op. dt., p. 121 et seq.; Muhm Raoul, Dependencia del Ministerio Fiscal del Ejecutivo en la Republica Federal Alemana, op. dt., p.93 et seq.; Walter-Preise, Le Ministere Public en Allemagne, in Revista do Ministerio Publico, Lisbona, Nr. 6 cadernos (Ministerio Publico. Instrumente do executivo ou orgäo do poder judicial?), 1994, pp.99-105; Kunert, Wie abhängig ist der Staatsanwalt?, in Festschrift f. Rudolf Wassermann, (Luchterhand, Darmstadt, 1985); Kausch, Der Staatsanwalt-Ein Richter vor dem Richter, (Duncker & Humbolt, Berlin, 1980); Wax, Der unabhängige Staatsanwalt, in Deutsche Richterzeitung (DRiZ), 1972, p. 163 et seq.; Görke, Weisungsgebundenheit und Grundgesetz, in Zeitschrift für die gesamte Strafrechtswissenschaft (ZStW), 1961, p.560 et seq. Con riguardo al rapporto tra Pubblico Ministero e potere politico, neH'ambito di una visione comparatistica, tra i tanti: Maia Costa, // Pubblico Ministero in Portogallo, in Questione Giustizia Nr. 6, 1999, p.1150 et seq.; Andres Ibánez, Por un Ministerio Publico "dentro de la legalidad", in Nueva Doctrina Penal, Buenos Aires, 1998/B, pp.435-466; Garapon, Le gardien des promises—Justice et Democratie, (Odile Jacob, Paris, 1996); Bruti Liberati, Cerretti & Giasanti, Governo del giudici—La magistratura tra diritto e politica, (Feltrinelli Editore, Milano, 1996); Andres Ibánez, Entre politica y derecho: el estatuto del acto rpublico en el proceso penal, in Cuadernos de derecho judicial, (Madrid, 1995), pp. 15-47; Perrot, Institutions Judiciaires, (V, Ed. Mont Chrestien, Paris, 1993), p.48 et seq., in this context see also: Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, "Guideline on the Role of Prosecutors", GA RES 166 (45) del December 18, 1990.
15. SZ, May 10, 2000, p.15 (Gewaltenteilung durch Parteien aufgehoben), May 6, 2000, p. 11 (Im Käfig der Politik), January 18, 2000, p. 12, July 16, 1998, p.7, July 14, 1998, p.7, July2, 1998, p.4.

a greater, perhaps more real and effective, independence of judges,16 making reference to the System applying in Italy and raising it to the level of a paragon,17 it is easy to see how these debates are resumed every time one of the numerous judicial scandals provides an opening.18 Frequently, in fact, German public opinion has had to take note, with astonishment and apprehension, of the apparent inability or of the manifest difficulty of Public Prosecutors in launching criminal proceedings against people of influence in the political and business worlds.19 Only too often, the activities of Public Prosecutors seem to be distinguished by a wilful inertia and a readiness to close cases.20 As examples of the many and worrying forms of undue influence and interference by the executive power in relation to the Public Prosecutor, only "Baden-Württemberg",21 "Zwick",22 "Balsam-AG"23 and "Hessische Steuerfahndung"24 need be mentioned here. Such phenomena led among other things to the setting up of a Parliamentary Commission of

16. On the limits to the independence of judges in Germany see: Groß, Verfassungsrechtliche Möglichkeiten und Begrenzungen für eine Selbstverwaltung der Justiz, in Zeitschrift für Rechtspolitik (ZRP), 1999, p.368 et seq.; Muhm Raoul & Muhm Myriam, A Alemanha ä procura da independencia da magistratura, in Revista do Ministerio Publico, Lisbona, Nr. 76, 1998, p.83 et seq.; Muhm Raoul & Muhm Myriam, Alemania: en busca de la independencia de la magistratura, in Jueces para la democracia, Madrid, Nr. 33, 1998, p.93 et seq.; ZRP-Rechtsgespräch, Ein Verstoß gegen die Kultur der Justiz: "Die dritte Gewalt darf nicht alles mit sich machen lassen ", in ZRP, 1998, p.368 et seq.; Bohlander & Latour, Zum Einfluß der politischen Parteien auf die Ernennungen zum Bundesgerichtshof, in ZRP 1997, pp.437—439; Lamprecht, Vom Mythos der Unabhängigkeit. Über das Dasein und Sosein der deutschen Richter, (Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, Baden-Baden, 1995); Leisner, "Gesetzlicher Richter" -vom Vorsitzenden bestimmt? Problematisches Richterrecht aus den Vereinigten Großen BGH-Senaten, in NJW, 1995, pp.285-289.
17. Die Tageszeitung (TAZ), July 24, 1993, p.11; SZ, August 5, 1993, December 4, 1993, p.7 (Die Justiz im Käfig der Politik-was wäre, wenn italienische Staatsanwälte gegen deutsche Politiker ermitteln würden?).
18. SZ, May 5, 2000, Janury 18, 2000, p. 12; Rudolph, Die politische Abhängigkeit der Staatsanwaltschaft, in NJW 1998, p. 1205; Rüping, Die Staatsanwaltschaft-Stiefkind der Revolution, in Strafverteidiger (StV), 1997, pp.276-279; Schäfer, Der Rücktritt: Zum Status der Generalstaatsanwälte in Deutschland, in NJW 1997, p.1753.
19. SZ, July 21,2000, p.L 13.
20. Muhm Raoul, Dependencia clel Ministerio Fiscal del Ejecutivo en la Republica Federal Alemana, op. cit., p.93 et seq.
21. Bericht und Beschlußempfehlung des Untersuchungsausschusses "Unabhängigkeit von Regierungsmitgliedern und Strafverfolgungsbehörden"—Landtag von Baden-Württemberg, 10. Wahlperiode, Drucksache 10/6666, February 17, 1992.
22. Muhm Raoul, Dependencia do Ministerio Publico do Executivo na Alemanha, op. cit., p. 121; Final reportof the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry of the Bavarian Land, publication/16599, July 6, 1994, p.43 et seq.
23. Setting up of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry of the North Rhine— Westphalia Land, November 2, 1994, Drucksache 11/7916.
24. Rudolph, op. cit., p. 1205.


Inquiry in Baden-Württemberg into connivance between members of the Government and the Offices of the Public Prosecutor. "25 Currently there is the questionable, to some people incomprehensible, dropping of the criminal case against the current presiding minister Koch in the ambit of the scandal of illegal funding of the Hesse CDU,26 resulting from the Bundestag Parliamentary Commission of inquiry into illegal funding of the CDU party, thanks to which it is easy to ascertain the improper interference of the executive power with the Augsburg Public Prosecutors.27
All these events are distinguished by unusual interest on the part of the Government when Public Prosecutors were performing normal inquiries in cases in which influential members of the political and business establishment linked to the political parties of the majority, or to members of the Government, were implicated.28 The ways in which undue influence was applied included requests from the Minister of Justice in person for reports or dossiers on the progress of investigations, or else the political-legal influence took the form of arrogation, the request for complaisant closure of the case, or replacement of the prosecutor who had hitherto been handling the case.29 The sickness described above in the German model of public prosecution has been made still more evident in recent years by the success of Italian investigating magistrates in inquiries into illegal

25. Bericht und Beschlußempfehlung des Untersuchungsausschusses "Unabhängigkeit von Regierungsmitgliedern und Strafverfolgungsbehörden"—Landtag von Baden-Württemberg, 10. Wahlperiode, Drucksache 10/6666, February 17, 1992
26. SZ, March 16, 2000, p.Lll, March 7, 2000, p.ll, February 22, 2000, p.4 (Die Staatsanwaltschaft adelt eine Lüge), February 9, 2000, p.l, January 28, 2000, p.l.
27. Worthy of note is the behaviour of the Bavarian Minister of Justice, who exhorted the Chief Public Prosecutor to take particular note of any prescription with a view to closing the investigations involving Max Strauß, son of Franz Josef Strauß and brother of the current Minister Monika Strauß/Hohlmeier, cfr. SZ, May 5, 2000, p.L8. In this context one should also consider the Statement made by the Green faction in the Bavarian Parliament accusing the Munich Chief Prosecutor of aiding and abetting personal interests in official acts (Strafvereitelung im Amt), cfr. SZ, June 7, 2000, p.L8; SZ, June 21, 2000, p.L13. SZ, May 6, 2000, p.l l (Justiz wurde in Spendenaffäre behindert), May 5, 2000, p.l, March l, 2000, p.L8. On the Bundestag's Parliamentary Commission on Inquiry into illegal funding of the CDU party see: BT-DR 14/2139, from November 23, 1999; Kölbel & Morlok, Geständniszwang in parlamentarischen Untersuchungen?, in ZRP, 2000, p.217 et seq.; Schröder, Altes und Neues zum Recht der Parlamentarischen Untersuchungsausschüsse aus Anlass der CDU Parteispendenaffäre, in NJW, 2000, p. 1455 et seq.; Pabel, Verhängung von Beugehaft durch einen Untersuchungsausschuß, in NJW, 2000, p.788 et seq.
28. Rudolph, op. dt. p. 1205; Muhm Raoul & Muhm Myriam, A Alemanha à procura da independência da magistratura, op. dt., p.83 et seq.; Muhm Raoul & Muhm Myriam, Alemania: en busca de la independência de la magistratura, op. dt., p.93 et seq.; Muhm Raoul, Der unabhängige Staatsanwalt. Das italienische Modell, op. eh., p.55 et seq.
29. Rudolph, op. dt. p.1205; Schäfer, op. dt., p.1753; Walter-Preise, op. dt., pp.99-105.


relationships between political and economic power.30 These successes have, as already indicated, led a part of public opinion and of the German academic world to propose emulation of the Italian model, distinguished from the German model by the independence of the Public Prosecutor from the executive power.31

THE LEGAL FRAME

The German model of Public Prosecutor is in fact characterised by a rigid hierarchical responsibility of Public Prosecutors to the Minister of Justice.32 In this context it worth recalling that the members of the German Constituent Assembly, unlike the members of the Italian Constituent Assembly, were not worried about constitutionally ensuring the personal independence of the individual Public Prosecutor, nor yet that of the Public Prosecutor's office as an office. In this context one cannot but emphasise that however much the Fundamental Law of the Federal Republic of Germany (Grundgesetz) may in some respects act as a paradigm,33 it seems insufficient in its enunciation of the concepts of the rule of law and of guarantees.
There are few constitutional measures relating to criminal law, to the regulation of criminal proceedings and to regulation of the judicial System. For example, the German Fundamental Law makes no provision for a body for self government of the magistracy comparable to the Italian CSM, nor, as already said, does it concern itself with ensuring the independence of the Public Prosecutor's office. The German Constituent Assembly deliberately left the task of developing and implementing the rule of law to the legislator and to jurisprudence. This "constitutional void" has undoubtedly influenced legislation, or more precisely the lack of legislation on the matter; both the code of penal procedure (StPO, promulgated on February l, 1877), and the law on the judicial System (GVG, promulgated on January 27, 1877) still today, in spite of many amendments, demonstrate

30. von Bülow, Im Namen des Staates (3rd ed., Piper Verlag, München, 1999), p.310.
31. See the meticulous analysis in "Von Italien lernen" (trad.: "Imparare dall’Italia"), Die Tageszeitung, July 24, 1993, p. II. See also: Süddeutsche Zeitung, no.178, August 5, 1993, p.3.
32. Albrecht, Peter-Alexis, Kriminologie, (C.H. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, München, 1999), p. 177; Kleinknecht/Meyer, Strafprozessordnung, (41 st ed., Kommentar, C.H. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, München, 1993), p. 1718-1720; Roxin, Strafverfahrensrecht, (23rd ed., C.H. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, München, 1993), p.44 et seq.; Pfeiffer, Karlsruher Kommentar zur Strafprozessordnung, (2nd ed., C.H. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, München, 1987), p. 1807; Löwe-Rosenberg, Die Strafprozessordnung und das Gerichtsverfassungsgesetz, (23rd ed., Grosskommentar, Walterde Gruyter, Berlin-New York, 1979), subs.146 GVG, p.33 et seq.
33. For example, as regards the federal structure, as well as the concept of the constructive vote of non-confidence.

the influence of an outdated and authoritarian concept.34 Obviously this regulatory context influences the Status and role of Public Prosecutors. On the legal position of the Public Prosecutor it must first be said that a fundamental dichotomy between theory and jurisprudence can be observed right from the time the Fundamental Law came into effect, a very unusual Situation for German legal tradition. In truth, authoritative theory, supporting the requirement for a reform of the hierarchical structure of the Offices of the Public Prosecutor35 by virtue of the constitutional principle of the rule of law, asserts the existence of a minimum degree of independence for the Public Prosecutor thanks to a restrictive Interpretation of the rules of the code of penal procedure and of the law on the judicial System.36
The first problem that arises is that of the juridical nature of the Public Prosecutor's office. A considerable part of the theory sees the Public Prosecutor's office as an organ of the judiciary, applying to it the concept of judicial power in the sense of art.92 of the Fundamental Law.37 This assumption allows part of the theory to deduce the independence of individual Public Prosecutors, treating them as equivalent to the category of judges, from art.97 para. l of the Fundamental Law. An equivalency of this kind is rejected not only by the jurisprudence but also by the majority of the theory, since the articles in question state that judicial power is entrusted solely to the judges (Richter)?* According to the jurisprudence and majority theory, the Public Prosecutor's office is an organ of the administration and protects justice sui generis (Organ der Rechtspflege sui generis) but nevertheless forms part of the executive power.39 The problem that results concerns the legitimacy of a rigid hierarchical structure for the Public Prosecutor's office, as provided for in the regulatory text.40 In fact, in deference to the law on the judicial System, the individual Public Prosecutor is subject by virtue of s. 146 and 147 of the GVG, to the power of direction and instruction, not only generic but also specific, of his hierarchical superior.41 The said hierarchical superior may be the chief Public

34. Lamprecht, Wie transparent ist die Justiz?, in ZRP, 1993, p.372 et seq.
35. Löwe-Rosenberg, op. dt., subs.146 GVG, p.38 et seq.; Pfeiffer, op. dt., p.1810; Wagner, Der objektive Staatsanwalt—Idee und Wirklichkeit, in JZ, 1974,320; Arndt, Umstrittene Staatsanwaltschaft, in NJW, 1961, 1616. Roxin, op. dt., p.51.
36. Roxin, op. dt., p.48 et seq.; Fezer, Strafprozessrecht I, (Ist ed., Verlag C.H. Beck'sche, München, 1986), p.28.
37. Henn, Zum Ministeriellen Weisungsrecht gegenüber der Staatsanwaltschaf, in DRiZ, 1972, p. 152; Wagner, Zur Weisungsgebundenheit der Staatsanwälte, in NJW, 1963, p.8.
38. Roxin, op. dt., p.48; Löwe-Rosenberg, op. dt., subs.146 GVG, p.37.
39. Roxin, op. dt., p.48; Fezer, op. dt., p.29; Kleinknecht/Meyer, op. dt., p.1708 et seq.; Guarnieri, Magistratura e Politica in Italia, Società Editrice Il Mulino, 1992, p.56.
40. Roxin, op. dt., p.48 et seq.; Bader, Staatsgewalt und Rechtspflege, in JZ, 1956, p.4; Löwe-Rosenberg, op. dt., subs.146 GVG, p.35.
41. Kleinknecht/Meyer, op. dt. ; p. 1718-1719; Pfeiffer, op. dt., p.1810; Fezer, op. dt., p.27 et seq.

Prosecutor in the particular Public Prosecutor's office (Leiter der Staatsanwaltschaft), or the Chief Public Prosecutor at the Court of Appeal, or, finally, the Land's Minister of Justice.42 In this context, it should first be recalled that in Germany, because of its federal structure, there is a two-way split in the administration of justice. It is usually within the competence of the individual Länder, so that Public Prosecutors at courts and courts of appeal are subject to the Minister of Justice of the Land. Only the Federal Public Prosecutor at the Federal Supreme Court is subject to the Federal administration and therefore to the Federal Minister of Justice.43 On the hierarchical structure, it must be specified that under s. 145 of the GVG the superior has power of devolution, that is of arrogation of the investigation and replacement of the Public Prosecutor appointed, at every stage of the investigation.44 While the right to replacement may also exercised by the Minister of Justice, the power of devolution, that is of arrogation of the investigations, can belong only to superiors within the Public Prosecutor's office by virtue of their role as members of the Public Prosecutor's office.45 This means that it will be either the Chief Public Prosecutor of the Land, or that of the Federal Republic, who will exercise the right of devolution as the top "internal" hierarchical superior, possibly on instructions from the Minister of Justice. It follows, in conclusion, that the political power can influence the course of a penal action in every stage, either by ordering its closure,46 or by determining the way in which investigations are conducted, or by replacing the Public Prosecutors appointed or by arrogating the investigations.
Furthermore, it should be borne in mind that the taking of such measures by the hierarchical superior is not subject to formal obligations, since no grounds or documentation are required.47 In fact oral instructions are entirely sufficient and are the common practice. It should also be emphasised that there is no legal protection against measures taken by the hierarchical superior.48 In view of the above, the majority theory is inclined to limit the powers of the hierarchical superior by virtue of the fact that in Germany

42. Fezer, op. dt., p.27 et seq.; Kleinknecht/Meyer, op. dt., p.1718-1719.
43. It is specified that under arts 142a and 120 of the judicial regulations the Federal Public Prosecutor's office is by way of exception competent for crimes of terrorism, espionage, attacks on the Constitution, etc. that is, only for the type of illegal activity that damages the institutional interests of the Federal Republic of Germany as a whole.
44. Roxin, op. dt., p.49; Löwe-Rosenberg, op. dt., subs. 145 GVG, p.29.
45. Fezer, op. dt., p.27; Pfeiffer, op. dt., p. 1808.
46. Obviously within the limits imposed by subss.258a, 344 StGB, that is the Penal Code of the Federal Republic of Germany, which prohibit the aiding and abetting of personal interests in official acts and abuse of office by means of improper prosecution.
47. Löwe-Rosenberg, op. dt., subs. 146 GVG, p.40; Pfeiffer, op. dt., p. 1809.
48. BGHZ, 42, 170; Kleinknecht/Meyer, op. dt., p. 1719; Löwe-Rosenberg, op. dt., subs. 146 GVG, p.35.

the principle of Obligation is subject to considerable exceptions.49 In contrast with the System in Italy (see Art. 112 of the Italian Constitution), the principle of Obligation is not imposed by the constitution but is deduced from the principle of equality (Art.3 of the Grundgesetz).50 This principle, thus deduced, is placed in conflict with the constitutional principle of proportionality.51 It follows that the principle of Obligation, as envisaged by s. 152, para.2 of the German code of penal procedure, is delimited by the principle of opportunity (Opportunitätsprinzip, see s. 153 and following of the StPO),52 which in turn is an expression of the constitutional principle of proportionality.53 According to the principle of opportunity, when the crime is held to be a minor one and there is no public interest in a penal action, the Public Prosecutor's office may ask the competent judge to close the case, or in special cases close the case itself.54 It is also necessary to point out that when the Public Prosecutor's office is of the opinion that the fact does not constitute a crime, or that the "fact" does not exist, it always has the right to close the proceedings itself, without any involvement of a judge. It is precisely these great powers of closing cases by itself that have given rise to the question of whether the Public Prosecutor's office is not in reality a "judge prior to the judge" (Richter vor dem Richter).55
If one also takes account of the practice, in the Public Prosecutor's offices of the individual Länder, of using different generic directives for the purposes of application of penal provisions, it is not difficult to understand why the Public Prosecutor's office has also been called a "legislator prior to the legislator" (Gesetzgeber vordem Gesetzgeber).56 In this context it should be pointed out that Public Prosecutors have frequently, on their own account and in application of the principle of opportunity, closed precisely those cases in which leading figures from the world of politics or finance were involved.57 This makes still more comprehensible the fears of the majority theory, which fears a dangerously indulgent application of the rules on case closure in some specific cases. In consideration of the above and in the intent to limit the Public Prosecutor's relationship of Subordination in penal proceedings, the theory sometimes

49. Fezer, op. dt., p.19; Roxin, op. cif., p.76.
50. BVerfGE, 9, 223; Kleinknecht/Meyer, op. dt., p.625; Roxin, op. dt., p.76; Fezer, op. dt., p.7.
51. Fezer, op. dt., p.8.
52. Roxin, op. dt., p.76.
53. Fezer, op. dt., p.8.
54. Roxin, op. dt., p.76 et seq.
55. Albrecht, Peter-Alexis, op. dt., p. 176.
56. Albrecht, Peter-Alexis, op. dt., p.177; Aulinger, s.31a BtMG—Der Auftrag des BVerfG und die Rechtswirklichkeit, in Neue Zeitschrift für Strafrecht (NStZ), 1999, pp.lll, 112.
57. On this point see nn.17, 19 & 31. In this context one should also consider the debate on the possibility of application of the principle of opportunity with regard to Kohl. Cfr. SZ, July 24, 2000, pp.l (Handel mit Gerechtigkeit), 4 (Einstellung gegen Kohl? Verboten!).


proposes the thesis that there is no hierarchical bond between the Minister of Justice and the individual Public Prosecutor, this is based on the theory that asserts the equivalence of the function of Public Prosecutor to the judicial power, as an organ of the judiciary.58 Again, it is sometimes argued that there are implicit limits to the right of direction and instruction by virtue of the juridical nature of the Public Prosecutor's office as an organ of administration and protection of justice sui generis, bound by the Obligation to truthfulness and justice.59 Part of the theory is likewise of the opinion that, at least in the trial stage, the Public Prosecutor must act according to conviction and conscience, enjoying full autonomy.60 Now, although there is felt to be a requirement for the Public Prosecutor to be independent, the regulatory context does not make the above dogma constructions plausible.61 In fact, the jurisprudence on the topic has always adopted a traditional Interpretation of the measures relating to the Status and role of Public Prosecutors.62 However it should be pointed out that because of the obvious deficiencies of the System current in Germany with regard to the Status and role of the Public Prosecutor and the impossibility of solving the problem through Interpretation, a complete reform of the hierarchical structure of the Public Prosecutor's office has been called for.63

THE MINISTERIAL REFORM PROJECT OF 1976

A project worth noting is the ministerial reform project of 1976, proposed on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Justice, which provided for the introduction of several guarantees in favour of the subordinate Public Prosecutor.64 For example, in s. 146, para. l of the GVG, the bill envisaged that Public Prosecutors should have the right to fulfill their tasks autonomously and on their own responsibility, in the ambit of the directions and instructions of their superiors.65 In s. 146, para.2 of the GVG, the bill introduced the requirement to document the instructions given by a superior regarding a specific proceeding in writing.66 In the event that such instructions have to be given orally for reasons of urgency, they must be confirmed in writing within 48 hours. s.146a, para. l of the GVG, the bill

58. Wagner, op. dt., in NJW, 1963, p.8.
59. Roxin, op. cit., p.48 et seq.; Fezer, op. cit., p.28.
60. Roxin, op. cit., p.49; Löwe-Rosenberg, op. cit., subs. 146 GVG, p.42.
61. Fezer, op. cit., p.29; Löwe-Rosenberg, op. cit., subs. 146 GVG, p.37.
62. Beckemper, Der Antrag auf Bestellung eines Pflichtverteidigers im Ermittlungsverfahren, in NStZ, 1999, p.221 et seq.; Kleinknecht/Meyer, op. cit., p. 17 19.
63. Löwe-Rosenberg, op. cit., subs. 146 GVG, p.41; Roxin, op. cit., p.51; Pfeiffer, op. cit., p.1809.
64. Löwe-Rosenberg, op. cit., subs. 145 GVG, p.41; Pfeiffer, op. cit., p. 1810.
65. Pfeiffer, op. cit., p. 1810; Löwe-Rosenberg, op. cit., subs.146 GVG, p.40.
66. Löwe-Rosenberg, op. cit., subs. 146 GVG, p.40; Pfeiffer, op. cit., p.1810.

established the right, except in cases or urgency, of the subordinate Public Prosecutor not to execute instructions regarding a specific case when doubtful of the legitimacy or convinced of the illegitimacy of the instruction.67 Finally s.!46b, para.l of the GVG, the bill establishes the principle of full autonomy of the Public Prosecutor during the trial stage.68 In this way it was intended to limit internal and external hierarchical power, to increase the transparency of the operations of the Public Prosecutor's office and at the same time to confer greater dignity and professionalism on the individual Public Prosecutor, at least during the trial stage.69 On this point it seems appropriate to recall that, in spite of the markedly different theoretical and institutional structure, this reform project, with its requirement for greater independence of the Public Prosecutor, supports the introduction of guarantees and mechanisms that recall some aspects of the Italian code of penal procedure, at least in their greater transparency function. For example, one can look at art.53, para.l of the Italian code, which establishes the full autonomy of the Public Prosecutor's office in exercise of its functions during the hearing, or art.372, para.l of the Code, which sets out the Obligation to give grounds for a decree or arrogation.

NEED FOR REFORM

It should also be mentioned that the necessity for reform of the hierarchical structure of the Public Prosecutor System in Germany is not felt only by academics and technical experts but has also been emphasised in parliamentary inquiry in Land Baden-Württemberg.10 This inquiry examined the "cohabitation" between the Ministry of Justice and the officials of the Public Prosecutor's office, who frequently ordered the closure of a penal case if people closely connected to members of the Government were involved.71 Following this parliamentary inquiry, the representatives of the FDP, the Liberal party which was a member of the Government coalition in Bonn at that time, argued that the activities of the Public Prosecutor's office did not appear to comply with the obligations imposed by the law.72 They likewise noted with concern that there was an excessive interest of the Land Baden-Württemberg Minister of Justice in the way in which penal actions were conducted against people of influence closely connected to government representatives.73 In conclusion they proposed that individual

67. On this point see n.41; Löwe-Rosenberg, op. dt., subs.146 GVG, p.40.
68. Löwe-Rosenberg, op. dt., subs.146 GVG, p.41.
69. Löwe-Rosenberg, op. dt., subs.146 GVG, p.42.
70. On this point see the report of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry, of which in n.21.
71. ibid.,, p.20.
72. ibid., p.924.
73. ibid.. p.925.

Public Prosecutors should be able to act like judges, independently and free of instructions.74 This would remove the suspicion of connivance and illegitimate pressure. Finally, the representatives of the FDP expressed their hope for a reform that would eliminate the current hierarchical structure and Subordination to instructions.75 It should be emphasised here that the requests for greater transparency in the operations of the Public Prosecutor's office and elimination of the hierarchical structure of Subordination to instructions have been proposed again, with vigour, by the German Association of Judges, which unambiguously argues the necessity of a reform of the current System, and especially elimination of the right of Ministers of Justice to give instructions in specific cases.76 As a result of the Kohl case, these requests have recently been repeated and made more specific by Horst Böhm, president of the Bavarian Association of Judges (Bayerische Richtervereinigung), with special reference to cases involving investigations of political significance or affecting substantial economic interests.77 After considering the real danger of undue interference, Horst Böhm states that a reform of this kind is already required if only to eliminate all suspicion of interference.78

conclusions

From what has been said, one can deduce in conclusion that the German model Public Prosecutor, characterised by strict hierarchical Subordination to the executive, does not seem to be appropriate to guarantee Operation free of outside influence (and hence impartiality) nor to guarantee implementation of the constitutional precept of equality before the law. The Kohl case has revealed the known defects of the German model, reinforcing the yearning in many quarters, political, governmental and academic, for the long desired introduction of at least partial independence for the Public Prosecutor. 79

74. ibid., p.925.
75. ibid., p.925.
76. Leitlinien des DRB, Nr. 34, http://www.drb.de.
77. Stern Nr. 22, May 25, 2000, pp.210, 211.
78. Stern Nr. 22, May 25, 2000, pp.210, 211.
79. Rüping, op. dt., pp.276-279.


 
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