International Edition Volume 6 (2016)

Preventive Human Rights Protection

Human rights monitoring of the security authorities in Austria – changes resulting from the implementation of OPCAT

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Monika Ritter

To ensure that human rights are upheld, the security authorities in Austria have been preventively monitored and advised since 1999. Until 2012 that task was performed by the Human Rights Advisory Council (former HRAC), which was established within the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI), and by its commissions. In 2012, preventive human rights protection was extended considerably in Austria – a national mechanism for the prevention of torture was created and the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT) was then ratified. The Austrian Ombudsman Board (AOB) was tasked with acting as a national prevention mechanism. In addition to its previous duties, the AOB has since been entrusted with visiting and nspecting places of detention to protect and promote human rights, monitoring and inspecting the conduct of executive bodies authorized to directly issue orders and carry out coercive measures, and checking or visiting programmes and facilities for persons with disabilities. This paper explains the international law background to the change and the new duties, extended organizational structure and mandate of the AOB. It goes on to analyze the resulting changes to human rights monitoring of the security authorities. A key finding of the paper is that the visits and onsite monitoring performed by the commissions have barely changed. However, there have been fundamental changes to the systemic background and how the findings of the visits are handled. The method by which recommendations are developed, the discussion processes involved and the manner in which the recommendations are made to those responsible, in particular, are completely different. It can be assumed that those changes will also impact on the effectiveness of human rights work.

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Survey on Safety and Crime in Lower Saxony

Methods and findings of a study conducted by the police on unreported crime

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Alexander Gluba

Police strategy in Germany to date has been largely determined by reported crimes, which are well documented in the German Police Crime Statistics (PKS). In Lower Saxony, the decision was made in 2012 to systematically study a second important source: those crimes that are not known to the law enforcement authorities. The "Criminological Research and Statistics" unit of the Lower Saxony State Office for Criminal Investigation was in charge to develop a suitable victim survey. Since then, two waves of the Survey on Safety and Crime had been conducted in 2013 and 2015. This paper was originally published in 2015 and focuses on the results of the first and by that time only survey. It describes the methodology used and the specific challenges faced when designing the survey and the solutions developed. It also presents the key findings of the first survey, to which an extensive report is downloadable on the internethomepage of the State Office for Criminal Investigation. Another report on the results of the second survey from 2015 has also been made available there.

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Homicide of an Adolescent Burglar by a Police Officer

Right and wrong police action, public reactions and possible consequences of the "Krems Merkur" case

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Simone Jungwirth

In August 2009, an adolescent supermarket burglar was fatally shot in the town of Krems an der Donau in Lower Austria by a police officer using a police firearm. The case has prompted heated public debate about the background, processes and consequences of adolescent and police action, and raises questions including what constitutes right police action, and how the public reacts to (specific) police action. Simone Jungwirth has addressed the case in question in a dissertation written at the University of Vienna's Department of Sociology titled "Homicide of an adolescent supermarket burglar – the Krems Merkur case". She looks into (specific) police action and public reactions to it by carrying out a qualitative-explorative study, which is a suitable method for examining "real-life events" such as the Krems Merkur case. She comes to the conclusion that police action per se cannot be right or wrong, and that there is no one public reaction to the Krems Merkur case. A uniform public reaction to other cases of police action is also unlikely, since the public is made up of stakeholder groups that have different expectations and opinions of the police. The definition of right police action is always dependent on the given situation and the stakeholder groups concerned. Their requirements overlap, however, in the "core area of appropriate police action". The term "appropriate" is used instead of "right" because police action is solution-oriented and is based on the police officer's mental representation of the given problem. That solution can be described as appropriate to a greater or lesser degree, but never as right or wrong.

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The "Solidarity Clause" of the European Union – Dead Letter or Enabling Act?

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Antonio-Maria Martino

The Solidarity Clause was formally introduced by the Lisbon Treaty. It creates an explicit demand upon the EU and its Member States to act jointly and to assist one another in the face of terrorist attacks, natural or man-made disasters. Solidarity has been one of the driving forces of European integration and through the insertion of Article 222 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) the Lisbon Treaty has significantly fostered the reference to the concept of solidarity. In June 2014 the General Affairs Council of the European Union adopted a decision on the implementation by the European Union of the Solidarity Clause which shall establish the mechanisms of EU action in crisis situations. This decision should promote the use of the Solidarity Clause but also raises new legal questions. Indeed, the first reactions to the adoption of the decision by the Council were controversial and showed a certain lack of understanding of the primary law provision at the basis of the EU Council decision of June 2014. This makes it necessary to deeper analyse the main provisions of this new EU measure.

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Rise and Fall in Crime Rates

Panel analysis as a method of data-driven crime research

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Julius Hess, Esther Jarchow

What are the causes of the spatial distribution of crime and its temporal variation? How does the crime rate change depending on the alteration of economic, political, judicial and police frameworks? Criminal geographical panel analyses are particularly suited to answer questions of this kind. This article explains the fundamentals of panel analysis, its potential, limitations and requirements for databases as well as its links to criminal theory. This method is then exemplarily clarified by analysing the distribution of policeregistered suspect rates in 91 districts of the German state of Hamburg between 1995 and 2009.

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Interfaces of Police and Military Security

Internal assistance provided by the German Armed Forces due to the increasing number of disasters and security threats

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Veit Petzoldt

The security policy situation has changed – it has become more complex and no longer so easy to divide into national and international or civilian and military sections. This also makes the decision harder as to what kind of security guarantees may be used and when. However, as the necessity to fight against natural disasters with military means as well has been realised, in the meantime, there may also be a need to use military resources to combat man-made threats or disasters that have already occurred. Unfortunately, disasters and security threats do not adapt themselves to our legal situation – in militant democracy, it must be the other way around. The following article demonstrates the legal framework for the domestic deployment of the German Armed Forces currently valid in Germany and above all represented through the German Constitution. Consequently, a fictitious request for help from the police to the military will be presented. In this case, it concerns a killing spree which requires military equipment to combat. Undoubtedly, this situation could also be defined as an act of terrorism with just a few changes - which is intended to show the increasing complexity of the current challenges faced by all guarantors of democratic security. Finally, I will make some necessary remarks on the development of the security services – within the current security situations and in international comparison with neighbouring European countries, which are our allies both in the rather civilian scope of the EU and also in the military sector of NATO.

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CFN – A Clinical-Forensic Network for Austria

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Simone Kainz, Johannes Höller, Isabella Klasinc, Thorsten Schwark, Reingard Riener-Hofer

In cases of survived violence, timely documentation and evidence suitable for the courtroom is essential for an objective criminal prosecution. At the moment, there is only a low-threshold possibility for an investigation for victims of all ages in the area of Graz within the framework of the Clinical-Forensic Outpatient Centre of the Medical University of Graz and the Ludwig Bolzmann Institute for Clinical-Forensic Imaging. A project has been started named the "Clinical-Forensic Network of Styria (CFN Styria)", funded by the Future Fund of the Styrian Government, in connection with the existing institutions (in particular hospitals), to set up regional clinical-forensic outpatient centres under the common umbrella of a network, which will be supported in terms of documentation and evaluation of physical and sexual violence by a centre manned by medicolegal personnel. Such a low-threshold investigation programme independent of research would be desirable Austria-wide and would be the tantamount to such forensic medical tendencies and aspirations in Germany and Switzerland.

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UN Field Service

The first foreign experience of the Austrian police

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Mario Muigg

The participation in international peacekeeping operations to date represents one of Austria's most significant contributions to the maintenance of peace and security. Following the restoration of state sovereignty in 1955, the deployment of the armed forces' paramedics in the Congo (1960–1963) and from the civil perspective, the deployment of police contingents on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus (1964–1977) are considered the first official peace missions with Austrian participation. Both cases were missions of the United Nations, thus, 1964 counts as the beginning of the Austrian police's decades-long commitment to peace policy. However, its first experience took place earlier. From 1958, that is two years before the first federal army members marked the official restart of Austrian foreign commitments, officials of the Austrian police force were deployed in the UN Field Service. However, these provided their service not as Austrian security forces on the basis of an appropriate UN mandate, but rather acted by means of individually concluded UN service contracts and were on leave of absence from their domestic security service for the duration of their UN deployment. This article will enable an overview of this first foreign experience of the Austrian police, before official Austrian police contingents were deployed from 1964 on, which have participated in over 30 different missions worldwide since then.

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