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[Editorial] Is DJ Free from the Prosecution’s Mistake?

[Editorial] Is DJ Free from the Prosecution’s Mistake?

Posted January. 17, 2002 10:18,   


President Kim Dae-Jung’s phrase, "There are certain aspects in which the prosecution’s faults harmed the government." lacks self-reflection over continuous prosecution-related scandals. The President mentioned that the government is a victim of the prosecution’s mishaps, but I think the President is misunderstanding the current situation where the prosecution is heavily wounded from various scandals.

The major reason for the fall of trust in the prosecution is that President Kim mishandled personnel affairs concerning the Minister of Justice and the Prosecution General. He appointed the Prosecution General, whose wife was involved in a serious scandal, as the Minister of Justice even before the end of his term, and eventually gave up on him due to the damage caused by the scandal, despite such earnest protection earlier. He even appointed an inexperienced attorney as the Justice General, and recorded the shortest-lived term for the post for the sake of ridiculous oaths of loyalty. The prosecution general, who was protected from impeachment, confidently claimed that there is nothing that the Special Prosecution can find in the controversial investigation it conducted.

The Prosecution is constantly suffering from scandals because there is no wholesome check and balance in the personnel structure. The tradition of close prosecutors performing major investigations together leads to a sense of complacency, blinding them to errors. Although the past governments may make an excuse that reliable figures from the same networks as the President were placed in the Prosecutors office, past mistakes cannot cover up present ones.

In the beginning of the administration, the President emphasized that `proper prosecution will build proper nation`, but failed to carry out personnel and system reform and enabling the Prosecution to stand alone and strong. Not only did he miss the public hearing on the Prosecutor General, which he had constantly insisted on since his time in the opposition, the President lost the balance in personnel management.

The Prosecution may be held responsible for failing to adjust to the changing situation of democratization, but there was no external incentive for reform. President Kim can never be completely free from bearing the responsibility for the Prosecution’s mistakes.

After democratization, the Prosecution is overrun by concentrated pockets of power, weakened check and balances, lax morality, and Prosecutors trying to play politics. The only solution for the mess is to reform the system and personnel in such a way as to secure the Prosecution`s neutrality.

The new Prosecutor General appointed during the chaos must maintain strict neutrality and thoroughly and urgently investigate the scandals.