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Presidential Transition Committee Pushes For Reform of Prosecution

Presidential Transition Committee Pushes For Reform of Prosecution

Posted January. 07, 2003 22:29,   


The Presidential Transition Committee on Janaary 7 was reported to plan to push ahead with the reform of the nation’s prosecution. It made the arriving government’ major priorities the establishment of an office in charge of the investigation of corrupt high-ranking government officials; permanent operation of independent counsel system for a limited period of time; making the personnel committee of the prosecution a practical consultation establishment; and holing confirmation hearing for the public prosecutor general appointee.

"Among president–elect Roh’s 30 campaign pledges related to reform of the prosecution, the four are core issues in securing political independence of the prosecution and exercising fairly its right," an official with the presidential transition team said, "and our team will prepare detailed measures after consulting with the legal world, academics and related government offices."

However, eyes are on whether those reform efforts will be achieved, as all the four priorities require enactment of legislation or revision and the Justice Ministry is opposed to the three challenges except making the personnel committee of the prosecution a practical consultation establishment.

At the request of the transition committee, the Ministry of Justice handed over its review report on Mr. Roh’s campaign promises involving the prosecution on Jananuary 4.

The official with the transition team said, "As public confidence in the prosecution is at its lowest, reform of the prosecution is an unavoidable challenge and in particular, the incoming government will make its best efforts on this matter, because it gets difficult to carry out the reform into the latter part of the term of office."

The team also plans to enlarge application for arbitration, extend the period in a statute of limitations and make the president exercise his right to pardon strictly.

However, the transition committee is reported not to have decided on measures to secure the police’ investigative rights, like transfer of investigation right and granting the right to complete investigation to the police, because of strong opposition from the prosecution and controversy over the effectiveness of such measures.

"Reform of the prosecution can work when the prosecution is convinced of it and the public also back it," the transition team official added. "Therefore the incoming government will pursue reform following principles and take a cautious attitude until it makes a final decision on its initiatives involving such reform."

Mr. Roh issued 30 campaign promises related to reform of the prosecution, including the above four. They also include strengthening rules against money laundering; following the principle of investigation without physical restraint; and guarantee of the presence of a lawyer during the interrogation of a suspect.

Jong-Dae Ha orionha@donga.com