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[Editorial] Case for Park`s Replacement

Posted August. 23, 2002 22:22,   


The prosecution decided to keep Park Yeong-gwan in office, triggering a controversy. Park, director of the 1st special investigation division of the Seoul District Pubic Prosecutors` Office, has investigated the draft-dodging scandal involving the son of Lee Hoi-chang, presidential candidate of the Grand National Party (GNP). The controversy should not be addressed with ease. But on four counts, we lend more strength to the idea of replacing Park, though belated.

First, if the prosecution is to bring home to the public the result of the investigation into the draft-dodging scandal over which two rival parties are waging a cutthroat war of nerve, there should be no room at all for suspicions in the process of the investigation. Only then, the result of the investigation can be justified.

Second, if the parties concerned don`t have confidence in the prosecutor, he should be removed from the investigation in that this probe should be conducted in as rigid and fair way as a trial. The GNP has always take issue with Park`s remarks based only on his prediction, not on evidence or fact.

Third, the Justice Ministry should not be swayed by the political logic, but that is not applied in this case. As witnessed in the remarks of Rep. Lee Hae-chan of the MDP that the prosecution asked him to rekindle the draft-dodging scandal, added fuel to the controversy, this case cannot be free from the political logic. Thus in order for the prosecution not to be swayed by the political logic, Park, who is at the center of the controversy, should get his hands off the investigation into the draft-dodging scandal.

Fourth, the Justice Ministry argues that it needs to maintain the continuity of the investigation. But it cannot be a justification to keep Park in office since there is another prosecutor, who has taken charge of the case for more than three weeks.

If the Ministry thinks that Park`s dismissal would have a negative impact on the process of the investigation, the Ministry should reproach itself for lack of confidence.

The investigation team for the corruption scandal involving the son of former president Kim Young-sam was replaced back in 1997.

Thus, if the Justice Ministry insisted to have Park remain in office, the Ministry will have to face further suspicions and more controversies. Equally worrisome is the deepening internal dispute in the prosecution. A majority of prosecutors want to replace Park. Is it a wishful thinking if we expect Park to step down himself?