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Prior Approval For High Official Arrest To Be Amended

Posted July. 01, 2001 21:10,   


The Justice Ministry and the Public Prosecution Office consider the amendment of the regulation that obligates the prior approval of the Justice Minister or the Prosecutors General when the investigation prosecutors arrest high officials including the Ministers and vice-ministers, lawmakers, and the presidents of the universities.

A related source of the Justice Ministry and the Public Prosecution said that the amendment would reduce the range of high officials who are subject to the prior approval before the arrest. And some calling for the cancellation of the Justice Minister`s approval.

The Current regulation stipulates the Justice Minister`s approval for the arrest of the Ministers, the vice-Ministers, and the lawmakers. It also stipulates the Prosecutors General`s approval for the arrest of the government officials higher than the 2nd class, the heads of the daily newspapers and broadcast companies and new agencies, and the presidents of universities, the presidents of banks.

At the meeting of the National Chief Prosecutors presided by Justice Minister Choi Kyong-Won on June 28, the discussion on the amendment did not reach a conclusion. And the Chief Prosecutors agreed on the establishment of the Prosecution Office for Special Investigation is to be reviewed by the Planning Group for the project.

The regulation was introduced to prevent the high officials from being arrested for trifle matters, which might create social and legal instabilities. However, the prosecutors has raised the problem of the equality and indicated the infringement of the prosecutor`s autonomy.

A source from the Prosecution said that, ``It is still on the stage of reviewing. The conclusion cannot be predicted at this point. The Justice Minister and the Prosecutors General will make the final decision after they collect lots of opinions from inside and outside.``

Lee Myoung-Gun gun43@donga.com