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Rising Collective Opposition of Prosecutors

Posted March. 06, 2003 22:23,   


Prosecutors are moving in group in opposition to the dramatic measures Ministry of Justice is taking against the tradition of seniority. It has designated as its new Deputy Minster a person who passed the bar exam 4 years later than his predecessor. In addition, it also plans to appoint as heads of DA`s offices those who are deemed revolutionary in terms of seniority.

President Roh has recently designated as Deputy Justice Minister Chung Sang-myung, who passed the 16th bar exam.

Yesterday afternoon, prosecutors nationwide were having meetings in protest against the Roh administration`s disrespect for the tradition of seniority. They criticize the Justice Ministry`s recent moves of appointing 16th passers as heads of High Public Prosecutors` Offices, and 20th or lower passers as heads of DA`s offices. Prosecutors argue that, upon the seniority tradition, those who passed the 16th bar exam should have been appointed as heads of DA`s offices.

Thus, in support of the move, three senior prosecutors, who passed the bar exam along with incumbent Attorney General, decided to scrap their plan and not to resign from their offices.

One high-ranking prosecutor with Supreme Public Prosecutors` Office snapped, "We can`t take it! When you appoint a 16th passer to the head of a High Office, it`s like forcing all those who are senior to him to leave office."

Within the prosecution, 31 high-ranking officials, excluding incumbent Attorney General, are senior to Deputy Minster-designate Chung Sang-myung.

Heads of various levels of offices began to get together starting 5 p.m. yesterday, and discuss various options at the Office of Attorney General. In the meanwhile, division chiefs of the Seoul DA`s Office also had their own meeting.

Jong-Dae Ha Wi-Yong Jung orionha@donga.com viyonz@donga.com