Austria

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Overview

Austria's DNA database was established in 1997 and is run by the Ministry of Interior. DNA is collected from convicted offenders and persons suspected of serious offences. DNA profiles may be deleted and samples destroyed on acquittal but only on written application.

The 2008 Interpol survey reports that 32,000 crime scene DNA profiles and 117,150 individuals' profiles, plus 103 missing person and 61 unknown/deceased DNA profiles were held in Austria at the time of the survey. According to Interpol, Austria's DNA database grew to 43,100 crime scene DNA profiles, 143,000 reference DNA profiles from individuals, 185 missing persons' DNA profiles, 88 unidentified human remains DNA profiles, plus 4,580 other DNA profiles in 2011. A DNA database legislation had been adopted at that time.

Resources

  • Press articles

Detailed Analysis

The Austrian forensic DNA database contains the genetic profiles derived from unidentified crime-scene samples, persons suspected of having committed a “serious offence,” and persons convicted of crimes. The police have the authority to coercively collect DNA samples from crime suspects and convicted offenders. DNA profiles are removed from the database if the person is subsequently acquitted or when he/she turns eighty. In both cases, a written petition from the individual is required to delete their DNA profile.

Austrian Federal law regarding the organisation of the (internal) security management and the practice of the state police (state police law – SPG), BGBL No. 566/1991 as published in BGBL. I No. 151/2004.[1],[2]


Convicted persons, suspects charged of a serious offences and all crime scene stains[3]

DNA profiles of crime suspects can be entered when they are suspected of having committed an offence that is classified in law as a ‘serious offence’. There are no restrictions to the entry of convicted offenders’ DNA profiles and DNA profiles that are derived from unidentified crime scene stains.

Law enforcement officers have the authority to coercively collect a DNA sample from convicted offenders and from persons who are suspected of having committed a ‘serious offence’. They are also allowed to collect a DNA sample from minors and mentally ill persons.

Profiles of convicted persons are retained indefinitely, suspects’ profiles are removed upon acquittal, [but only after submitting a written request], and crime scene stains are kept until a case is solved.[4]

The DNA profiles that are derived from unidentified crime scene stains are stored in the database until the corresponding case is solved. Crime suspects’ DNA profiles are removed from the database when the suspect is acquitted. As an additional requirement, the individual has to submit a written application to the BMI. The DNA profiles of convicted offenders are retained indefinitely.

Convicted persons’ samples must be destroyed when individual reaches age eighty, suspects samples are retained despite suspects’ acquittal, [a written request for destruction must be submitted][5]

Crime suspects must apply for sample destruction upon their acquittal. Otherwise, their sample is retained. The DNA samples of convicted offenders have to be destroyed when the person concerned has reached the age of eighty years. DNA samples of minors must be destroyed 3 years after collection.

Ministry of the Interior (BMI), Federal Criminal Investigation Office, office 6.1.

The staff members of the forensic institutes of Innsbruck, Salzburg and Vienna only have access to the DNA profile values and a reference number. Judicial authorities have full access rights and can therefore also consult personal information. The legal basis for the international exchange of DNA profiles can be found in both the Police Cooperation Law and the Data Protection Law. DNA profiles are exchanged through Interpol but because Austria has signed and ratified the Convention of Prüm, it also has automatic access to the forensic DNA databases of its contracting partners.

WEB users interfaces. Data base Microsoft SQL. Enquiry and Matchtool self development program ++ with C

Interrogation and Matchtool self development program ++ with C There are special search algorithms, automatic error control with reference values and special functions such as tools for mixed traces. In the case of hits automatic confirmation analysis requirement at the institutes concerned.

The history and practices of the Austrian forensic DNA database is discussed in a dedicated chapter in Hindmarsh, Richard, and Prainsack, Barbara (2010) (eds): Genetic Suspects: Global Governance of Forensic DNA Profiling and Databasing. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.


References

  1. Council of the European Union, Ad hoc Group on Information Exchange, DNA Databases to Assist with Criminal Investigations, at 5, E.U. Doc. No. 9445/1/06 (REV 1) (Jun. 16, 2006) (hereinafter “E.U. 9445/1/06”).
  2. Providing in relevant part: § 67. (1) the DNA of a person may be determined within the framework of an identity examination, if that person is suspected of having committed a dangerous attack committed and if due to this act or the personality of that person it can be expected, that he/she will leave traces while committing further dangerous attacks and these traces would make his/her recognition possible on the basis of the determined genetic information. An identity examination according to § 65 par. 2 may also be made in relation to the DNA of people, as far as this is necessary for the evaluation of existing DNA traces. (1a) An identification examination in relation to missing persons (§ 65a) and to corpses (§ 66) may also include the determination of (their) DNA. (2) Genetic information generated by an identification examination, may be evaluated exclusively for the purposes of the identification examination. The molecular-genetic investigation has to be made via a service provider, to whom the entire investigation material has to be transmitted, however no identification data of the person concerned shall be transmitted (to the service provider). (3) The police authorities have to take contractual precautions ensuring that the service provider examines only those areas of the DNA, which aim at the recognition, and that the service provider destroys the investigation material, if the police authority is obliged to delete the identification data. § 75 SPG reads: Central recognise-official evidence. § 75. (1) The police authorities are authorized to process identity data collected in accordance with §§ 65 paragraph 1, 65a and 66 paragraph 1, existing identity data (§ 65 paragraph 6) and the reason why the data was collected in a central police records data base. (2) The police authorities are authorized to use the data stored by them in a central police records data base. Transmissions of the data processed in accordance with paragraph 1 are permissible to authorities for purposes of the state police, of the criminal jurisdiction and in other fields of the security management, as far as this is necessary for purposes of recognition. In all other respects transmissions are permissible, if for this an express legal authorization exists.
  3. See Nathan Van Camp & Kris Dierickx, GeneBanc, National Forensic DNA Databases: Socio-Ethical Challenges & Current Practices in the EU 33 (2007) (hereinafter “EU Current Practices”).
  4. See EU Current Practices at 31.
  5. See EU Current Practices at 34.