Posted March. 28, 2017 07:30,
Updated March. 28, 2017 07:35
The prosecution sought an arrest warrant for former President Park Geun-hye on Monday. Prosecutors cited as the reasons for their bid to gain Park’s arrest warrant the gravity of her suspected efforts to collect valuables from companies and the possibility that she might attempt to destroy evidence since she denied most of the charges during the prosecutorial investigation. The application for an arrest warrant for Park seems to be confirmation of the principle that all are equal under the law including even a former head of state, since her arrest will help achieve the equity of justice when compared with other suspects who have already been arrested as accomplices including Park’s confidante Choi Soon-sil, her former Chief of Staff Kim Ki-choon and former senior presidential secretary for policy coordination Ahn Jong-beom.
It is understandable that the prosecution had the agony of whether it could afford not to seek an arrest warrant for a suspect who the independent counsel Park Young-soo’s investigation team referred to public prosecutors on bribery charges. However, investigation of a suspect in detection is done only under the assumption that suspicion against the suspect has already been validated and when there is possibility for her destruction of evidence or run-away from the law enforcement authority. In light of common sense, it is hardly imaginable that a former president will seek to run away at all. Prosecutors judge that if a suspect who is suspected of committing a grave crime denies the charges, they determine that the suspect could attempt to destroy evidence. However, quite some time has already passed since the start of the investigation, and all accomplices have already been arrested and are under investigation, with former President Park already having left the presidential office as well. It is hard to believe that there is any further evidence to destroy at this point in time.
It was impossible to conduct forced investigation of President Park up until March 10 since she was still in power until then. There was a possibility that she could have attempted to destroy evidence until that time, but there was no way to arrest her anyway. Investigation of the disgraced president by taking her into custody only now is repetition of ill-advised practice from the past by the prosecutors who effectively consider arrest as prior punishment of a criminal suspect.
It is true that majority of the public opinion prefer her arrest rather than non-arrest. However, whether to arrest the president or not is not the kind of matter that can be determined based on public opinions. The prosecution already questioned former President Park, and heard her answers to its questions. We wonder what additional benefits it brings now for prosecutors to have the former president wear prison uniforms and come back and force to and from the detention house and prosecutors’ office, with her hands tied with ropes. If Park is found to have committed crimes, the court can put her behind bars can after issuing a ruling. This constitutes the realization of justice. Arrest is meant to give convenience in investigation and has nothing to do with the realization of justice.
The prosecution is already facing the looming crisis of whether its organization will survive under the next administration, since it was initially reluctant to investigate into the Choi Soon-sil gate. Critics say that Prosecutor-General Kim Soo-nam became wary of the next administration and handed over the burden of whether to arrest the former president or not to the court. The court is hardly able to reject the issuance of an arrest warrant for Park, since it already issued arrest warrants for her accomplices. Nevertheless, unless former President Park committed a grave crime like coup that could put the nation into the crisis of its survivability and existence like ex-Presidents Chun Doo-hwan or Roh Tae-woo, it is advised that the court postpone Park’s arrest until after court trials, and use caution in making the final decision to the extent possible.