Posted May. 24, 2017 07:04,
Updated May. 24, 2017 07:17
Trials on the alleged manipulation of state affairs by ex-President Park Geun-hye and her confidante Choi Soon-sil started on Tuesday, with Park in attendance. Given that one more former president is under trial, it is sad and regrettable not only to the person concerned but also to the public. The scene, in which former President Park is undergoing a court hearing open to the public together with Choi Soon-sil, has clearly reminded us of the principle of democracy that everyone is equal before the law.
“She should be ready to take responsibility for bringing the nation to the situation of failed state administration,” the ruling Minjoo Party said in a statement on Park’s trial. “We expect a fair trial,” the main opposition Liberty Korea Party said. Both arguments are legitimate. Park should be held responsible for the collapse of state administration that she brought about. However, it would be arguably fair only when the court closely and carefully examines to the extent she caused collapse of state administration, before holding her responsible based on evidence and legal principles.
In the first hearing on hear case on the day, ex-President Park said, “I share my positon with my attorney” to deny for the first time all the charges against her including bribery-taking, abuse of power and leaks of classified official information that the prosecution had applied to indict her. An ex-president should not be starting the hearings by blankly denying all the charges just as ordinary defendants would do. She should be admitting the charges that can be objectively admitted. With the legal community also judging that several of the charges against her such as bribery-taking are disputable, the environment and condition for prosecutors and defendants engage in fierce legal dispute should be assured.
Hearings on Park’s case will take place two to three times a week. The court’s decision to hold hearings on the two defendants together for the bribery charge will be inevitable. Park’s attorney expressed opposition to the situation wherein if hearings are held together, evidence against Choi, whose trial has proceeded to some extent, can be fully applied to ex-President Park, but the court promised to issue a fair ruling without having prejudice. As it promised, the court should define facts accurately and apply legal principles accordingly without any prediction or prejudice. The court must display a sense of historic responsibility, beyond a simple sense of legal responsibility, so that the future generations can learn lessons.