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[Editorial] Prosecutors and Politicians Now Understand Differences

[Editorial] Prosecutors and Politicians Now Understand Differences

Posted March. 09, 2003 22:42,   


President Roh met face to face with prosecutors yesterday. It was the first public discussion of its kind in Korea. It is also hard to find any precedents anywhere around the world. The meeting demonstrated how abnormal the relationship is between people in power and those whose job it is to prosecute those who are suspected of guilt. What lies behind the relationship is mutual distrust and dissatisfaction, reminding South Koreans how serious discord is between politicians and prosecutors.

In one respect, the meeting was positive. The president and prosecutors engaged in a healthy debate without hesitation. Both sides are pursuing political independence for the prosecution. At the same time, however, it has been affirmed that they are extremely different from each other in terms of approaching and realizing their goals. The difference comes from the discrepancy in viewpoint in which each side understands the current status of the investigative body, and looks into the cause of citizens` mistrust in the body.

The meeting, however, failed to serve as a venue for coming up with constructive alternatives due to the participants concentrating only on attacking the other side’s lack of reason and logic. Moreover, the participants failed to produce any concrete agreement on how to achieve the mutual goal of reforming the prosecution, which further depreciated the value of the discussion.

From time to time, the two sides pushed the discussion too hard toward the extremes, leading to a clash in emotions. But the issue was simple and clear. Both sides agreed on the need for achieving fairness and transparency in promotion of the prosecution in order to secure autonomy and independence for the body. What really matters is how and when this can be realized.

Prosecutors argued for setting up a renewed independent oversight committee before making promotional decisions. President Roh showed his distrust in the current personnel management board consisting of prosecutors themselves, and pronounced that he would first initiate reform through promotion, and revamp the system later.

Despite differences on ‘when’, both sides recognize the need for changing the promotional system for prosecutors. We should pay attention to mutual recognition. This is the starting point from which each side should make efforts to gradually narrow their differences. Since President Roh himself called for the meeting, we wish he would understand the prosecution`s loyalty and respect their opinions in materializing reform.