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Abolition of Appointment of Public Prosecutors to the Cheong Wa Dae

Abolition of Appointment of Public Prosecutors to the Cheong Wa Dae

Posted February. 04, 2002 09:17,   


The system of public prosecutors in active service being appointed to work Presidential secretariat will be abolished.

The chief presidential press secretary Park Sun Suk announced on the 3rd, "President Kim Dae-Jung ordered the abolition of the system of appointing public prosecutors to the Cheong Wa Dae before personnel changes in the Public Prosecutors Office are carried out," and "This is followed by the decision to reinforce political autonomy of the Prosecution in the future."

Mr. Park added, "In fact, some thought that the appointment system may compromise the autonomy of the Prosecution. We expect that by its abolition will be an opportunity for reinforcing the autonomy of the Prosecution and to recover its credibility."

Following this, 6 public prosecutors who are working in the central office and civil government, Kim Hak Jae, chief of Civil Affairs, Park Young Su, Secretary of Assessment, and Jo Geun-Ho, Secretary of Civil Affairs, and others will return to the Public Prosecutors Office.

Mr. Park stated, "Incoming personnel will function as private counsel and will take charge of legal assistance for the President."

Active public prosecutors seem to be happy about the policy, saying that it is the end of their worries.

Even one of the officers of Supreme Public Prosecutors office said, "It should have been done before . . . ."

However, some say that these changes were inevitable as public prosecutors used to avoid working in the Cheong Wa Dae as the current administration` term is coming to an end.

The Cheong Wa Dae actually planned to allow Kim Hak-Jae to return to the Prosecution and to recruit Kim Seung-Kyu, vice minister of Justice, as the chief of Civil Affairs, but vice minister Kim rejected the offer of working in the Cheong Wa Dae.

There are rumors that it was an excuse so that Kim Hak Jae can return to the Prosecution.

`The Clothes Lobby` issue of 1999 became worse because of the information on `inappropriate exchanges` which a public prosecutor appointed to the Cheong Wa Dae reported to the executive of the Prosecution.

In addition, previous vice minister of Justice, Shin Kwak-Ok, was under restraint as he was suspected of being involved in the Jin Seung Hyun scandal during his term as chief of Civil Affairs.

The system of appointing public prosecutors to the Cheong Wa Dae began in 1967 at the time of the Third Republic. At that time, however, 2~3 ordinary public prosecutors were appointed privately and it became institutionalized after the Fifth Republic.

Afterwards, the sentiment that the system should be abolished became stronger because of indications that appointment of public prosecutors interfered with the investigations and spoiled political autonomy and fairness.

Therefore the regulation that prohibits appointment of public prosecutors to the Cheong Wa Dae was established. This regulation was followed at the request of the Kookmin Party (previous part of the Democratic Party), which was an unseated party.

However, after the Democratic Party resumed office, the appointment to the Cheong Wa Dae continued through expediential policy, which placed public prosecutors in the Justice Department as part of its staff

Soo-Hyung Lee ysmo@donga.com · sooh@donga.com